A model for prediction of own voice alteration with hearing aids
For normal hearing persons, own voice perception is a complex function of airborne sound transmission and bone-conduction transmission; the dynamics of the system depend on the motion of the mouth and, consequently, the articulation. The sound transmission between mouth and the cochlea can be modelled as a time-depended, non-linear filter. For persons with hearing aids, the system becomes even more complex. First, the open-fit receiver, vented or closed earmold affect both the airborne and bone-conducted transmission due to acoustic filtering and the occlusion effect. Second, the hearing aid amplifier influences the airborne sound; this influence is even more difficult to predict due to microphone settings and hearing aid compression. A model for own voice sound transmission was devised and used to predict changes in own voice perception subsequent to hearing aid fitting. The model is a combination of ear-canal acoustics and active amplification. The predictions were verified in 30 subjects fitted with hearing aids. The hearing aid types included open fittings, classic BTE and ITE hearing aids. The model gave good prediction of the own voice ear canal sound pressure alteration caused by the hearing aid. However, this sound pressure alteration do not predict subjectively rated own voice problems.
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