Relating hearing aid users’ preferred noise reduction setting to different measures of noise tolerance and distortion sensitivity
Recently, there has been growing interest in the personalisation of hearing aid fittings. In two previous studies, we investigated preference for different types of noise reduction (NR) processing and found that we could partly explain individual differences based on audiometric and cognitive factors. In the current study, we explored a number of psychoacoustic and self-report measures in terms of their ability to help explain these results. Groups of hearing aid users with clear preferences for either weak (N = 13) or strong (N = 14) NR participated. Candidate measures included maximally acceptable background noise levels, detection thresholds for speech distortions caused by NR processing, and self-reported ‘sound personality’ traits. Participants also adjusted the strength of the binaural coherence-based NR algorithm to their preferred level. Analyses confirmed the basic group difference concerning preferred NR strength. Furthermore, detection thresholds for speech distortions were higher for ‘NR lovers’ than for ‘NR haters’. In terms of maximally acceptable noise levels, there was a tendency for NR lovers to be less tolerant towards background noise than NR haters. Group differences were generally absent in the self-report data. Altogether, these results suggest that differences in preferred NR setting are partly related to individual sensitivity to background noise and speech distortions.
Brons, I., Dreschler, W.A., and Houben, R. (2014). “Detection threshold for sound distortion resulting from noise reduction in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 136, 1375-1384.
Byrne, D., Parkinson, A., and Newall, P. (1991). “Modified hearing aid selection procedures for severe/profound hearing losses,” in The Vanderbilt Hearing Aid Report II. Eds. G.A. Studebaker, F.H. Bess, and L.B. Beck (York Press, Parkton, NC), pp. 295-300.
Carroll, R., Meis, M., Schulte, M., Vormann, M., Kießling, J., and Meistere, H. (2015). “Development of a German reading span test with dual task design for application in cognitive hearing research,” Int. J. Audiol., 54, 136-141.
Dillon, H. (2012). Hearing Aids, 2nd ed. (Boomerang Press, Sydney, Australia).
Grimm, G., Herzke, T., Berg, D., and Hohmann, V. (2006). “The master hearing aid: A PC-based platform for algorithm development and evaluation,” Acta Acust. United Ac., 92, 618-628.
Grimm, G., Hohmann, V., and Kollmeier, B. (2009). “Increase and subjective evaluation of feedback stability in hearing aids by a binaural coherence-based noise reduction scheme,” IEEE Trans. Audio Speech, 17, 1408-1419.
Kayser, H., Ewert, S.D., Anemüller, J., Rohdenburg, T., Hohmann, V., and Kollmeier, B. (2009). “Database of multichannel in-ear and behind-the-ear head-related and binaural room impulse responses,” EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process., 298605.
Levitt, H. (1971). “Transformed up-down methods in psychoacoustics,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 49, 467-477.
Meis, M., Huber, R., Fischer, R.L., Schulte, M., and Meister, H. (2015). “Develop-ment of a questionnaire for the assessment of sound preferences and hearing habits of people with different degrees of hearing impairment,” 12th Congress Europ. Fed. Audiol. Soc. (EFAS), Istanbul, Turkey, May 27-30.
Nabelek, A.K., Tucker, F.M., and Letowski, T.R. (1991). “Toleration of background noises: Relationship with patterns of hearing aid use by elderly persons,” J. Speech Hear. Res., 34, 679-685.
Neher, T. (2014). “Relating hearing loss and executive functions to hearing aid users’ preference for, and speech recognition with, different combinations of binaural noise reduction and microphone directionality”, Front. Neurosci., 8, 391.
Neher, T., Wagener, K.C., and Fischer, R.L. (2015). “Directional processing and noise reduction in hearing aids: Individual and situational influences on preferred setting,” under review.
Wagener, K.C., Brand, T., and Kollmeier, B. (1999). “Entwicklung und Evaluation eines Satztests für die deutsche Sprache. I-III: Design, Optimierung und Evaluation des Oldenburger Satztests (Development and evaluation of a sentence test for the Ger-man language. I-III: Design, optimization and evaluation of the Oldenburg sentence test)”, Zeitschrift für Audiologie (Audiological Acoustics), 38, 4-15, 44-56, 86-95.
Wagener, K.C. and Brand, T. (2005). “Sentence intelligibility in noise for listeners with normal hearing and hearing impairment: Influence of measurement procedure and masking parameters”, Int. J. Audiol., 44, 144-157.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright* and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
*From the 2017 issue onward. The Danavox Jubilee Foundation owns the copyright of all articles published in the 1969-2015 issues. However, authors are still allowed to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.