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Trends in Amplification

Andrew T Sabin, Pamela E Souza
Most hearing aid prescriptions focus on the optimization of a metric derived from the long-term average spectrum of speech, and do not consider how the prescribed values might distort the temporal envelope shape. A growing body of evidence suggests that such distortions can lead to systematic errors in speech perception, and therefore hearing aid prescriptions might benefit by including preservation of the temporal envelope shape in their rationale. To begin to explore this possibility, we designed a genetic algorithm (GA) to find the multiband compression settings that preserve the shape of the original temporal envelope while placing that envelope in the listener's audiometric dynamic range...
June 2013: Trends in Amplification
Jana Besser, Thomas Koelewijn, Adriana A Zekveld, Sophia E Kramer, Joost M Festen
The ability to recognize masked speech, commonly measured with a speech reception threshold (SRT) test, is associated with cognitive processing abilities. Two cognitive factors frequently assessed in speech recognition research are the capacity of working memory (WM), measured by means of a reading span (Rspan) or listening span (Lspan) test, and the ability to read masked text (linguistic closure), measured by the text reception threshold (TRT). The current article provides a review of recent hearing research that examined the relationship of TRT and WM span to SRTs in various maskers...
June 2013: Trends in Amplification
James R Curran, Jason A Galster
As early as the 1930s the term Master Hearing Aid (MHA) described a device used in the fitting of hearing aids. In their original form, the MHA was a desktop system that allowed for simulated or actual adjustment of hearing aid components that resulted in a changed hearing aid response. Over the years the MHA saw many embodiments and contributed to a number of rationales for the fitting of hearing aids. During these same years, the MHA was viewed by many as an inappropriate means of demonstrating hearing aids; the audio quality of the desktop systems was often superior to the hearing aids themselves...
June 2013: Trends in Amplification
Vijay Parsa, Susan Scollie, Danielle Glista, Andreas Seelisch
Frequency lowering technologies offer an alternative amplification solution for severe to profound high frequency hearing losses. While frequency lowering technologies may improve audibility of high frequency sounds, the very nature of this processing can affect the perceived sound quality. This article reports the results from two studies that investigated the impact of a nonlinear frequency compression (NFC) algorithm on perceived sound quality. In the first study, the cutoff frequency and compression ratio parameters of the NFC algorithm were varied, and their effect on the speech quality was measured subjectively with 12 normal hearing adults, 12 normal hearing children, 13 hearing impaired adults, and 9 hearing impaired children...
March 2013: Trends in Amplification
Richard T Penninger, Wade W Chien, Patpong Jiradejvong, Emily Boeke, Courtney L Carver, Charles J Limb
Cochlear Implant (CI) users typically perform poorly on musical tasks, especially those based on pitch ranking and melody recognition. It was hypothesized that CI users would demonstrate deterioration in performance for a pitch ranking and a melody recognition task presented with iterated rippled noise (IRN) in comparison to pure tones (PT). In Addition, it was hypothesized that normal hearing (NH) listeners would show fewer differences in performance between IRN and PT for these two tasks. In this study, the ability of CI users and NH subjects to rank pitches and to identify melodies created with IRN and PT was assessed in free field in a sound-isolated room...
March 2013: Trends in Amplification
Paola V Incerti, Teresa Y C Ching, Robert Cowan
Cochlear implant systems that combine electric and acoustic stimulation in the same ear are now commercially available and the number of patients using these devices is steadily increasing. In particular, electric-acoustic stimulation is an option for patients with severe, high frequency sensorineural hearing impairment. There have been a range of approaches to combining electric stimulation and acoustic hearing in the same ear. To develop a better understanding of fitting practices for devices that combine electric and acoustic stimulation, we conducted a systematic review addressing three clinical questions: what is the range of acoustic hearing in the implanted ear that can be effectively preserved for an electric-acoustic fitting?; what benefits are provided by combining acoustic stimulation with electric stimulation?; and what clinical fitting practices have been developed for devices that combine electric and acoustic stimulation? A search of the literature was conducted and 27 articles that met the strict evaluation criteria adopted for the review were identified for detailed analysis...
March 2013: Trends in Amplification
Ray L Goldsworthy, Lorraine A Delhorne, Louis D Braida, Charlotte M Reed
The purpose of this study is to identify precise and repeatable measures for assessing cochlear-implant (CI) hearing. The study presents psychoacoustic and phoneme identification measures in CI and normal-hearing (NH) listeners, with correlations between measures examined. Psychoacoustic measures included pitch discrimination tasks using pure tones, harmonic complexes, and tone pips; intensity perception tasks included intensity discrimination for tones and modulation detection; spectral-temporal masking tasks included gap detection, forward and backward masking, tone-on-tone masking, synthetic formant-on-formant masking, and tone in noise detection...
March 2013: Trends in Amplification
Jong Ho Won, Kaibao Nie, Ward R Drennan, Jay T Rubinstein
Previous work showed that the Fidelity120 processing strategy provides better spectral sensitivity, while the HiResolution processing strategy can deliver more detailed temporal information for Advanced Bionics cochlear implant users. The goal of this study was to develop a new sound processing strategy by maximizing the spectral benefit of Fidelity120 and the temporal benefit of HiResolution to improve both aspects of hearing. Using acoustic simulations of Fidelity120 and HiResolution strategies, a dual-processing strategy was created by combining Fidelity120 in the low frequency channels and HiResolution in the high frequency channels...
December 2012: Trends in Amplification
Gitte Keidser, Harvey Dillon, Lyndal Carter, Anna O'Brien
NAL-NL1, the first procedure from the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) for prescribing nonlinear gain, was a purely theoretically derived formula aimed at maximizing speech intelligibility for any input level of speech while keeping the overall loudness of speech at or below normal loudness. The formula was obtained through an optimization process in which speech intelligibility and loudness were predicted from selected models. Using updated models and applying some revisions to the derivation process, a theoretically derived NAL-NL2 formula was obtained in a similar way...
December 2012: Trends in Amplification
Alexis T Roy, Patpong Jiradejvong, Courtney Carver, Charles J Limb
The purpose of this study was to (a) apply the musical sound quality assessment method, Cochlear Implant-MUltiple Stimulus with Hidden Reference and Anchor (CI-MUSHRA), to quantify musical sound quality deficits in CI (cochlear implant) users with respect to high-frequency loss, and (b) assess possible correlations between CI-MUSHRA performance and self-reported musical sound quality, as assessed by more traditional rating scales. Five versions of real-world musical stimuli were created: 8-,4-, and 2-kHz low-pass-filtered (LPF) versions with increasing high-frequency removal, a composite stimulus containing a 1-kHz LPF-filtered version and white noise ("anchor"), and an unaltered version ("hidden reference")...
December 2012: Trends in Amplification
Mead C Killion
Although a great many brass players, and trumpet players in particular, successfully use high-fidelity earplugs, others report problems with their use. This article discusses factors that may discourage a brass player from using hearing protection: These include (a) a lack of acclimatization time; (b) a loss of "fortissimo blare" from the aural distortion generated by the 110- to 120-dB SPL produced at the open ear with fortissimo playing; (c) a shallow earmold seal, leading to a large occlusion effect; (d) a poor seal combined with incorrect acoustic mass in the sound channel; and (e) hearing loss where many harmonic overtones of even moderately loud playing may become inaudible with earplugs to a lifelong trumpet player with high-frequency hearing loss...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Neil S Hockley, Frauke Bahlmann, Bernadette Fulton
Hearing instrument design focuses on the amplification of speech to reduce the negative effects of hearing loss. Many amateur and professional musicians, along with music enthusiasts, also require their hearing instruments to perform well when listening to the frequent, high amplitude peaks of live music. One limitation, in most current digital hearing instruments with 16-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, is that the compressor before the A/D conversion is limited to 95 dB (SPL) or less at the input. This is more than adequate for the dynamic range of speech; however, this does not accommodate the amplitude peaks present in live music...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Mark Schmidt
Music can have sound levels that are in excess of the capability of most modern digital hearing aids to transduce sound without significant distortion. One innovation is to use a hearing aid microphone that is less sensitive to some of the lower frequency intense components of music, thereby providing the analog-to-digital (A/D) converter with an input that is within its optimal operating region. The "missing" low-frequency information can still enter through an unoccluded earmold as unamplified sound and be part of the entire music listening experience...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Marshall Chasin
Modern digital hearing aids have provided improved fidelity over those of earlier decades for speech. The same however cannot be said for music. Most modern hearing aids have a limitation of their "front end," which comprises the analog-to-digital (A/D) converter. For a number of reasons, the spectral nature of music as an input to a hearing aid is beyond the optimal operating conditions of the "front end" components. Amplified music tends to be of rather poor fidelity. Once the music signal is distorted, no amount of software manipulation that occurs later in the circuitry can improve things...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Marshall Chasin, Neil Hockley
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Richard Einhorn
Extensive personal experience with professional recording and audio signal processing technology has enabled the author to continue his music career after experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. The iPhone™ is one such device that has been found useful for many music and general listening situations that would otherwise be intractable. Additional techniques and technologies are described that the author has found useful for specific situations, including music composition, rehearsal, and enjoyment...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Brian C J Moore
This article reviews a series of studies on the factors influencing sound quality preferences, mostly for jazz and classical music stimuli. The data were obtained using ratings of individual stimuli or using the method of paired comparisons. For normal-hearing participants, the highest ratings of sound quality were obtained when the reproduction bandwidth was wide (55 to 16000 Hz) and ripples in the frequency response were small (less than ± 5 dB). For hearing-impaired participants listening via a simulated five-channel compression hearing aid with gains set using the CAM2 fitting method, preferences for upper cutoff frequency varied across participants: Some preferred a 7...
September 2012: Trends in Amplification
Kostas Kokkinakis, Behnam Azimi, Yi Hu, David R Friedland
To restore hearing sensation, cochlear implants deliver electrical pulses to the auditory nerve by relying on sophisticated signal processing algorithms that convert acoustic inputs to electrical stimuli. Although individuals fitted with cochlear implants perform well in quiet, in the presence of background noise, the speech intelligibility of cochlear implant listeners is more susceptible to background noise than that of normal hearing listeners. Traditionally, to increase performance in noise, single-microphone noise reduction strategies have been used...
June 2012: Trends in Amplification
Valeriy Shafiro, Stanley Sheft, Brian Gygi, Kim Thien N Ho
Perceptual training with spectrally degraded environmental sounds results in improved environmental sound identification, with benefits shown to extend to untrained speech perception as well. The present study extended those findings to examine longer-term training effects as well as effects of mere repeated exposure to sounds over time. Participants received two pretests (1 week apart) prior to a week-long environmental sound training regimen, which was followed by two posttest sessions, separated by another week without training...
June 2012: Trends in Amplification
Shu-Chen Peng, Monita Chatterjee, Nelson Lu
The present article reports on the perceptual weighting of prosodic cues in question-statement identification by adult cochlear implant (CI) listeners. Acoustic analyses of normal-hearing (NH) listeners' production of sentences spoken as questions or statements confirmed that in English the last bisyllabic word in a sentence carries the dominant cues (F0, duration, and intensity patterns) for the contrast. Furthermore, these analyses showed that the F0 contour is the primary cue for the question-statement contrast, with intensity and duration changes conveying important but less reliable information...
June 2012: Trends in Amplification
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