Tag Archives: research

On the Topic of Hearing Loss and Fatigue

In 2013, we reviewed an article from Dr. Ben Hornsby in which he reported on an initial foray into the fatiguing effects of listening to speech while managing a cognitively challenging secondary task (read here). The outcomes of his investigation suggested that use of hearing aids may reduce fatiguing effects of completing that secondary task. In more recent work, Drs Hornsby and Kipp assessed utility of standardized measures of fatigue among a large group of subjects with hearing loss.

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Hornsby, B. & Kipp, A. (2016). Subjective ratings of fatigue and vigor in adults with hearing loss are driven by perceived hearing difficulties not degree of hearing loss. Ear and Hearing 37 (1), 1-10.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR MUSIC PROCESSING THROUGH HEARING AIDS

While speech is arguably the most important sound that listeners encounter on a daily basis, the perception of other sounds should be taken into consideration, including music. In this study, Arehart and her colleagues examined the effect of a variety of signal processing conditions on music quality ratings for normal-hearing and hearing-impaired individuals.

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Arehart, K., Kates, J. & Anderson, M. (2011) Effects of Noise, Nonlinear Processing and Linear Filtering on Perceived Music Quality, International Journal of Audiology, 50(3), 177-190.

Listening is more effortful for new hearing aid wearers

Recent work out of Linkoping, Sweden suggests that new hearing aid wearers experience greater cognitive demands when listening. Over time they adapt to better resolve new auditory cues, decreasing the effort required for listening.

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

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Cognitive benefits of digital noise reduction

A number of studies have suggested that activating digital noise reduction in hearing aids may improve performance on tasks that are associated with cognitive capacity. This change in performance is attributed to a reduction in effort required for effective listening. This study from Desjardins and Doherty is one of the first to reveal these effects in a sample of participants with hearing loss.

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Desjardins, J. & Doherty, K. (2014). The effect of hearing aid noise reduction on listening effort in hearing-impaired adults. Ear and Hearing 35 (6), 600-610.

Can changing hearing aid settings improve working memory?

This month we review a recent study from Souza and Sirow that assessed working memory with several clinically fit hearing aids. The results suggest that aspects of cognitive status may play a role in how patients respond to different hearing aids settings.

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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.

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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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…

Read more: http://bit.ly/1hseMo0

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.

Read more: http://buff.ly/MKcx8I

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