Preference for compression speed in hearing aids for speech and music and its relationship to sensitivity to temporal fine structure
Multi-channel amplitude compression is widely used in hearing aids. The preferred compression speed varies across individuals. Moore (2008) suggested that reduced sensitivity to temporal fine structure (TFS) may be associated with preference for slow compression. This idea was tested using a simulated hearing aid. We also assessed whether preferences for compression speed differ for speech and music. Eighteen hearing-impaired subjects were tested, and the stimulated hearing aid was fitted individually using the CAM2 method. On each trial a given segment of speech or music was presented twice, once processed with fast compression and once with slow compression, in random order. The subject indicated which segment was preferred and by how much. On average, slow compression was preferred over fast compression, more so for music, but there were distinct individual differences, which were highly correlated for speech and music. Sensitivity to TFS was assessed using the difference limen for frequency at 2 kHz and by two measures of sensitivity to interaural phase at low frequencies. The results for the DLFs, but not the measures of sensitivity to interaural phase, provided some support for the suggestion that preference for compression speed is affected by sensitivity to TFS.
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