Tag Archives: galster

Rainbow, Rainbow ft. Lil KEMAR

This goes out to everyone that’s spent hours listening to speech in noise tests. The AuDs, hearing scientists, and engineers. Thanks Justin for the design, Fred for the beats, KEMAR for looking dapper, and the talented voice talent.

Modern Remote Microphones Greatly Improve Speech Understanding in Noise

In this study, we evaluated four wireless remote microphones that each use a different wireless audio transmission protocol. Results were equivalent across the four systems, indicating that these remote microphones offer similar benefits to those associated with FM remote microphones.

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Rodemerk, K. & Galster, J. (2015).  The benefit of remote microphones using four wireless protocols. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 1-8.

Hearing Aid Use is Becoming More Accepted

On this month’s blog we review one of last year’s top 5 research articles. Rauterkus and Palmer (2014) asked people to rate characteristics of people wearing a variety of ear-level devices, some of which were hearing aids. Ratings taken today, as compared to those collected decades ago suggest that hearing aid use is carrying less social stigma than it once did.

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Rauterkus, E. & Palmer, C. (2014). The hearing aid effect in 2013. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 25, 893-903.

Top 5 Hearing Aid Research Publications from 2014!

top5_2014

Over the last year, we were presented with audiology research that spanned topics related to engineering, clinical expectations, and statistical exercises for predictive or retrospective analyses. This selection of articles is representative of that diversity, highlighting articles that present new models for speech quality, describing third-party perception of hearing aid use, and several that peel away layers obscuring the complexity of adapting to new hearing aid use.

1. The Hearing Aid Effect in 2013

Hearing aid use carries stigma: this is a fact that all people with hearing loss, researchers, and audiologists understand. It’s safe to say that there is a generalized assumption that the adoption of body-worn technology will eventually erode the stigmatizing effect of hearing aid use. During this study, adults were asked to rate their perception of a person wearing several styles of ear-level devices, including hearing aids, earphones, and a Bluetooth headset. While the observed differences could be considered moderate, there were no perceived differences between a person wearing hearing aids and those not wearing hearing aids. The authors propose that this observation indicates a more positive perception of hearing aid use, as compared to earlier studies.

Rauterkus, E., & Palmer, C. (2014). The Hearing Aid Effect in 2013. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 25, 893-903.

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2. Dynamic relation between working memory capacity and speech recognition in noise during the first 6 months of hearing aid use

Attempting to clearly interpret past research in the area of adaptation to new hearing aids is a complex proposition. Some studies offer conflicting results, even questioning the nature of the adaptation effect. This is one of several studies in recent years that have looked at measures of cognition as they relate to new hearing aid use. The authors find that working memory demands (a form of functional short-term memory) changed over 6-months. The implications of these observations are increased cognitive demands at the time of the first hearing aid fitting, as patients work to interpret newly audible cues.

Ng, E., Classon, E., Birgitta, L., Arlinger, S., Lunner, T., Rudner, M., & Ronnberg, J. (2014). Dynamic relation between working memory capacity and speech recognition in noise during the first 6 months of hearing aid use. Trends in Hearing, 18, 1-10.

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3. Factors associated with success with hearing aids in older adults

This large-scale assessment tracked the outcomes of patients through a battery of 16 measurements, both subjective and objective. A number of valuable clinical factors were identified as linking to hearing aid success. Three of these factors stand out as providing excellent clinical insight. Firstly, the role of a supportive spouse is extremely important; secondly, the patient must be able to confidently manipulate the hearing aids themselves; finally, patients fit with hearing aids at prescriptively appropriate gains are more successful than those who are fit far below the prescription. Some of these observations have been made in previous studies but this one is the first to succinctly report them with modern hearing aids.

Hickson, L., Meyer, C., Lovelock, K., Lampert, M., & Khan, A. (2014). Factors associated with success with hearing aids in older adults. International Journal of Audiology, 53, S18-S27.

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4. The Hearing-Aid Speech Quality Index (HASQI) Version 2

The optimization and verification of hearing aid signal processing algorithms is greatly eased by our ability to model (or predict) a person’s perception of changes in the processed sound. The HASQI is a tool that allows for the prediction of changes in sound quality though the comparison of two recordings, one unprocessed sample that is used as a reference and a second processed sample. This recent revision to the original HASQI works well to overcome some limitations of the first iteration.

Kates, J., & Arehart, K. (2014) The Hearing-Aid Speech Quality Index (HASQI) Version 2. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 62(3), 99-117.

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 5. A 3-pack on the acclimatization conundrum

This package of three articles is being presented as one (on the list). Individually, each offers a small but meaningful insight into the topic of adapting to new hearing aid use. As all three were published from the same lab during 2014, they offer a collective series of insights that will impact all future work in this area. In brief, the investigators sought to document acclimatization effects through several metrics, including a round of focus group interviews. Their objective observations showed mild effects of experience with hearing aids, while the focus group interviews reinforce expectations that adjusting to hearing aids is an experience that extends beyond the perception of amplified sound alone.

Dawes, P., Maslin, M., & Munro, K. (2014). ‘Getting used to’ hearing aids from the perspective of adult hearing-aid users. International Journal of Audiology, 53, 861-870.

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Dawes, P., Munro, K., Kalluri, S., & Edwards, B. (2014). Auditory acclimatization and hearing aids: Late auditory evoked potentials and speech recognition following unilateral and bilateral amplification. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135(6), 3560-3569.

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Dawes, P., Munro, K., Kalluri, S., & Edwards, B. (2014). Acclimatization to Hearing Aids. Ear and Hearing, 32(2), 203-212.

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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.

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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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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Should you prescribe digital noise reduction to children?

For years it was the case that digital noise reduction was not a recommended signal processing strategy for pediatric hearing aid fittings. The advancement of these algorithms and new research findings have shifted this perception.

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The Top 5 Hearing Aid Research Articles from 2013!

Top 5

1) The Clinical Practice Guidelines in Pediatric Amplification

After a 10-year wait, the guidelines for prescription of hearing aids to children were updated in 2013—making them the most modern of any peer-reviewed guidelines. There is little doubt that these recommendations will impact future publication and fitting protocols at clinical sites around the world. The guidelines are freely available at the link below.

American Academy of Audiology. (2013). Clinical Practice Guidelines Pediatric Amplification. Reston, VA: Ching, T., Galster, J., Grimes, A., Johnson, C., Lewis, D., McCreery, R…Yoshinago-Itano, C.

http://buff.ly/18TNGsz

2) Placebo effects in hearing aid trials are reliable

This article echoes publications from the early 2000’s (e.g., Bentler et al., 2003) that reported on blinded comparisons of analog and digital hearing aids. In those early studies, participants showed clear bias when primed to believe that option ‘A’ was a higher technology than option ‘B’. That early work was more focused on comparing technologies than this insightful report on placebo effects. Dawes and colleagues share an important reminder that placebo is real and should be accounted for in experimental design, whenever possible.

Dawes, P., Hopkins, R., & Munro, K. (2013). Placebo effects in hearing aid trials are reliable. International Journal of Audiology, 52(7), 472-477.

http://buff.ly/JF7DHM

3) Effects of hearing aid use on listening effort and mental fatigue

In the last few years, a number of research audiologists and hearing scientists have worked to document relationships between cognitive capacity, listening effort, and hearing aid use. An undertone of these efforts has been the assumption that a person with hearing loss will be less fatigued when listening with hearing aids. This article is one of the first published attempts at clearly documenting this fatiguing effect.

Hornsby, B.W. (2013). Effects of hearing aid use on listening effort and mental fatigue associated with sustained speech processing demands. Ear & Hearing, 34(5), 523-534.

http://buff.ly/JF7vrH

4) Characteristics of hearing aid fittings in infants and young children

The recent publication of updated pediatric fitting guidelines leads one to wonder how well fundamental aspects of these recommendations are being followed. This report from McCreery and colleagues is a clear indication that superior pediatric hearing care is uncommon and most often found in large pediatric medical centers. They also reinforce the consideration that consistent care from a single center may result in the most prescriptively appropriate hearing aid fitting.

McCreery, R., Bentler, R., & Roush, P. (2013). Characteristics of hearing aid fittings in infants and young children. Ear & Hearing, 34(6), 701-710.

http://buff.ly/18TNnhp

5) The Style Preference Survey (SPS): a report on psychometric properties and a cross-validation experiment

Closing out the Top 5: this article warrants high regard for rigor in design and quality of reporting. The authors delivered an article that will educate future researchers on the development and validation of questionnaires. Beyond this utility, the results are some of the first to identify the dimensions of preference that underlie the well-established bias toward preference of open-canal hearing aids.

Smith, S., Ricketts, T., McArdle, R., Chisolm, T., Alexander, G., & Bratt, G. (2013). Style preference survey: a report on the psychometric properties and a cross-validation experiement. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 24(2), 89-104.

http://buff.ly/JF740H