Considerations for Music Listening

This month’s blog reviews a newly published article from Crogan and colleagues*. The authors discussed a project investigating the quality of music perception through hearing aids. Various factors related to the patient and hearing aid signal processing were found to be meaningful. We offer clinical advice relative to optimizing a music listening memory for patients that present themselves as music aficionados.

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*Croghan, N., Arehart, K. & Kates, J.  (2014). Music preferences with hearing aids: effects of signal properties, compression settings and listener characteristics. Ear & Hearing, in press.

A hierarchical model for the analysis of intra-individual variability

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When analyzing and reporting results of studies involving multiple participants, researchers are often faced with two choices: average data across participants to estimate group-level effects or treat each participant separately. Neither of these two options is entirely satisfactory: averaging data across participants ignores inter-individual differences and treating each participant as a separate entity ignores commonalities across participants. Hierarchical (i.e., multi-level) Bayesian models (HBMs) provide a principled solution to this conundrum. We show that, in most cases, estimates of performance or of treatment effects computed using HBMs are more precise and more accurate than estimates of performance obtained using traditional methods.

Preferred aided listening levels for music in the sound field

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The research involving music listening through hearing aids is limited. Existing reports generally focus on the electroacoustic limitations of modern hearing aids and perception of sound quality with a variety of hearing aid processing schemes. In the present study, we documented participants’ preferred aided listening levels (PLLs) for music presented in the sound field. Download the poster to learn more.

A Pediatric Prescription for Listening in Noise

Hearing aid prescriptions are traditionally developed for the application of accessing speech in quiet listening conditions. This month we review an article from Crukley and Scollie that describes a version of the DSL v5.0 designed for listening in noisy situations.

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On the prevalence of hearing loss and barriers to hearing aid uptake

Dawes and his colleagues examine the prevalence of hearing impairment among 164,700 middle-aged respondents in the U.K., assessing how audiologic and demographic factors relate to hearing impairment and the use of hearing aids among individuals in this age group.

They report that 10.7 % of participants had hearing impairment; tinnitus was reported by 16.9% of the subjects, which is consistent with previous reports (Davis 1995).  The results show, not surprisingly, that the prevalence of hearing loss increases with increasing age, with an acceleration of prevalence beginning in the 55-59 year old age group.

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The most important factors behind directional microphone benefit

In this month’s blog the three primary goals from a recent study by Keidser and colleagues are reviewed. The authors report on a series of factors that affect benefit from directional microphones in hearing aids. Specifically, they were interested in the effects and interaction of three potential sources of variability: differences in the individual SNR achieved by physical directional benefit, differences in the ability to make use of SNR improvements and variability related to measurement error.

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Acclimatizing to hearing aids may not mean what you think it means

New patients frequently report that their new hearing aids sound tinny, metallic, loud, or unnatural. The clinical audiologist recognizes that these comments will decrease in frequency with time. This process is often described as acclimatization: a reaction to new hearing aids that occurs because the patient has adjusted to hearing sound filtered by their hearing loss. When amplification is introduced, the subsequent increase in audibility and loudness perception is unfamiliar and therefore unnatural…

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American Auditory Society 2014

I’m happy to share some of the research content that we are presenting at the 2014 American Auditory Society in Scottsdale, Arizona. Below are links to PDFs of the research posters.

Viability of RECD in Fitting Vented and Open-Canal Hearing Aids

Speech Recognition in Noise with Four Remote Microphone Technologies

Do Combination Tinnitus Instruments Reduce the Effects of Tinnitus?

A Live Voice Test of Plural Detection

Very few people take action to verify or validate frequency lowering at the time of prescription. It may be the case that the audiologist lacks appropriate equipment to complete electroacoustic verification or they are unaware of, or do not have access to, test options that can be calibrated in the sound field. For this reason, I assembled a casual test of word-final plural detection that should be administered with live voice at a soft conversational level.

It is important to understand that this is not a scientifically validated tool, it is intended as a fast and free utility that provides some insight into the effect of any frequency lowering algorithm.

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On the Prevalence of Cochlear Dead Regions

As more information is gained about prevalence and risk factors, what remains missing are clinical guidelines for management of hearing aid users with diagnosed high-frequency dead regions. Conflicting recommendations have been proposed for either limiting high frequency amplification or preserving high frequency amplification and working within prescribed targets. The data available today suggest that prevalence of contiguous multi-octave dead regions is very low and only a smaller subset of hearing aid users with contiguous dead regions experience any negative effects of high-frequency amplification.

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