Sound quality judgements of new hearing instrument users over a 24-week post-fitting period

Kevin J. Munro, Mark E. Lutman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The time course of changes in perceived sound quality after hearing instrument fitting has not been studied systematically. It is possible, for example, that patients may object to additional high frequency gain when fitted, but not after a period of auditory acclimatisation. The aim of this study was to utilise sound quality judgements to compare two frequency responses in new users at 4-week intervals over a 24-week post-fitting period. The null hypothesis was that there would be no change in sound quality judgements over time. A total of 16 elderly subjects were fitted monaurally with the same model of linear, programmable hearing instrument. This was set to a standard response that provided 26-29 dB of real-ear insertion gain at 2000-4000 Hz. This program was worn by the subjects for the duration of the study. All subjects reported greater than four hours of daily use. The alternative response which was used in a paired comparison paradigm, provided a mean gain reduction of 3, 8, 13, and 16 dB at 2000, 3000, 4000 and 6000 Hz, respectively. Subjects compared the standard and the alternative responses for sound quality along dimensions of comfort, clarity, and overall preference while listening to running speech presented in quiet, steady noise, and speech babble. At the time of fitting there was a small preference for the standard response when judging clarity, but the alternative response was preferred for comfort and preferred overall. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each quality dimension did not reveal any statistically significant change over time. It is concluded that this pattern of preference is unaffected by acclimatisation to amplification, at least over the initial 24 weeks of instrument use. © 2005 British Society of Audiology, International Society of Audiology, and Nordic Audiological Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-101
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
    Volume44
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

    Keywords

    • Auditory acclimatisation
    • Sound quality judgements

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