Audibility and speech perception of children using wide dynamic range compression hearing AIDS

Lisa S Davidson, Margaret W Skinner
American Journal of Audiology 2006, 15 (2): 141-53

PURPOSE: This study examined the relation of audibility for frequency-specific sounds and the Speech Intelligibility Index (SII) to speech perception abilities of children with sensorineural hearing loss using digital signal-processing hearing aids with wide dynamic range compression.

METHOD: Twenty-six children age 5-15 years with pure-tone averages (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 kHz) from 60-98 dB HL participated. Three subgroups were created based on the compression characteristics of each hearing aid. Minimum audibility was determined using aided thresholds for frequency-modulated tones and the SII calculated at 55 and 70 dB SPL using the simulated real-ear output of the hearing aid. The Lexical Neighborhood Test (LNT; K. I. Kirk, D. B. Pisoni, & M. J. Osberger, 1995) was presented at 50 and 70 dB SPL.

RESULTS: LNT scores at 70 dB SPL were significantly higher than at 50 dB SPL. Average aided thresholds at 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 kHz were negatively correlated with LNT scores at 50 dB SPL, and SIIs at 55 and 70 dB SPL were positively correlated with LNT scores at 50 and 70 dB SPL.

CONCLUSIONS: Results support using aided thresholds and speech test scores at soft to loud levels as part of the amplification fitting process.

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