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Trends in Hearing

Raul Sanchez Lopez, Federica Bianchi, Michal Fereczkowski, Sébastien Santurette, Torsten Dau
Pure-tone audiometry still represents the main measure to characterize individual hearing loss and the basis for hearing-aid fitting. However, the perceptual consequences of hearing loss are typically associated not only with a loss of sensitivity but also with a loss of clarity that is not captured by the audiogram. A detailed characterization of a hearing loss may be complex and needs to be simplified to efficiently explore the specific compensation needs of the individual listener. Here, it is hypothesized that any listener's hearing profile can be characterized along two dimensions of distortion: Type I and Type II...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Chantel Ritter, Tara Vongpaisal
For cochlear implant (CI) users, degraded spectral input hampers the understanding of prosodic vocal emotion, especially in difficult listening conditions. Using a vocoder simulation of CI hearing, we examined the extent to which informative multimodal cues in a talker's spoken expressions improve normal hearing (NH) adults' speech and emotion perception under different levels of spectral degradation (two, three, four, and eight spectral bands). Participants repeated the words verbatim and identified emotions (among four alternative options: happy, sad, angry, and neutral) in meaningful sentences that are semantically congruent with the expression of the intended emotion...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Natalia Stupak, Monica Padilla, Robert P Morse, David M Landsberger
Cochlear-implant users who have experienced both analog and pulsatile sound coding strategies often have strong preferences for the sound quality of one over the other. This suggests that analog and pulsatile stimulation may provide different information or sound quality to an implant listener. It has been well documented that many implant listeners both prefer and perform better with multichannel analog than multichannel pulsatile strategies, although the reasons for these differences remain unknown. Here, we examine the perceptual differences between analog and pulsatile stimulation on a single electrode...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Matthew B Winn, Ashley N Moore
Contextual cues can be used to improve speech recognition, especially for people with hearing impairment. However, previous work has suggested that when the auditory signal is degraded, context might be used more slowly than when the signal is clear. This potentially puts the hearing-impaired listener in a dilemma of continuing to process the last sentence when the next sentence has already begun. This study measured the time course of the benefit of context using pupillary responses to high- and low-context sentences that were followed by silence or various auditory distractors (babble noise, ignored digits, or attended digits)...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Maarten van Beurden, Monique Boymans, Mirjam van Geleuken, Dirk Oetting, Birger Kollmeier, Wouter A Dreschler
Aversiveness of loud sounds is a frequent complaint by hearing aid users, especially when fitted bilaterally. This study investigates whether loudness summation can be held responsible for this finding. Two aspects of loudness summation should be taken into account: spectral loudness summation for broadband signals and binaural loudness summation for signals that are presented binaurally. In this study, the effect of different symmetrical hearing losses was studied. Measurements were obtained with the widely used technique of Adaptive Categorical Loudness Scaling...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Virginia Best, Jayaganesh Swaminathan, Norbert Kopčo, Elin Roverud, Barbara Shinn-Cunningham
The perception of simple auditory mixtures is known to evolve over time. For instance, a common example of this is the "buildup" of stream segregation that is observed for sequences of tones alternating in pitch. Yet very little is known about how the perception of more complicated auditory scenes, such as multitalker mixtures, changes over time. Previous data are consistent with the idea that the ability to segregate a target talker from competing sounds improves rapidly when stable cues are available, which leads to improvements in speech intelligibility...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Stephen C Rowland, Douglas E H Hartley, Ian M Wiggins
Listening to speech in the noisy conditions of everyday life can be effortful, reflecting the increased cognitive workload involved in extracting meaning from a degraded acoustic signal. Studying the underlying neural processes has the potential to provide mechanistic insight into why listening is effortful under certain conditions. In a move toward studying listening effort under ecologically relevant conditions, we used the silent and flexible neuroimaging technique functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to examine brain activity during attentive listening to speech in naturalistic scenes...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Maaike Van Eeckhoutte, Dimitar Spirrov, Jan Wouters, Tom Francart
In Part I, we investigated 40-Hz auditory steady-state response (ASSR) amplitudes for the use of objective loudness balancing across the ears for normal-hearing participants and found median across-ear ratios in ASSR amplitudes close to 1. In this part, we further investigated whether the ASSR can be used to estimate binaural loudness balance for listeners with asymmetric hearing, for whom binaural loudness balancing is of particular interest. We tested participants with asymmetric hearing and participants with bimodal hearing, who hear with electrical stimulation through a cochlear implant (CI) in one ear and with acoustical stimulation in the other ear...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Jacques A Grange, John F Culling, Barry Bardsley, Laura I Mackinney, Sarah E Hughes, Steven S Backhouse
Turning an ear toward the talker can enhance spatial release from masking. Here, with their head free, listeners attended to speech at a gradually diminishing signal-to-noise ratio and with the noise source azimuthally separated from the speech source by 180° or 90°. Young normal-hearing adult listeners spontaneously turned an ear toward the speech source in 64% of audio-only trials, but a visible talker's face or cochlear implant (CI) use significantly reduced this head-turn behavior. All listener groups made more head movements once instructed to explore the potential benefit of head turns and followed the speech to lower signal-to-noise ratios...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Maaike Van Eeckhoutte, Jan Wouters, Tom Francart
Psychophysical procedures are used to balance loudness across the ears. However, they can be difficult and require active cooperation. We investigated whether 40-Hz auditory steady-state response (ASSR) amplitudes can be used to objectively estimate the balanced loudness across the ears for a group of young, normal-hearing participants. The 40-Hz ASSRs were recorded using monaural stimuli with carrier frequencies of 500, 1000, or 2000 Hz over a range of levels between 40 and 80 dB SPL. Behavioral loudness balancing was performed for at least one reference level of the left ear...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Florian Pausch, Lukas Aspöck, Michael Vorländer, Janina Fels
Theory and implementation of acoustic virtual reality have matured and become a powerful tool for the simulation of entirely controllable virtual acoustic environments. Such virtual acoustic environments are relevant for various types of auditory experiments on subjects with normal hearing, facilitating flexible virtual scene generation and manipulation. When it comes to expanding the investigation group to subjects with hearing loss, choosing a reproduction system which offers a proper integration of hearing aids into the virtual acoustic scene is crucial...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Kirsten C Wagener, Matthias Vormann, Matthias Latzel, Hans E Mülder
Remote microphones (RMs) have been developed to support hearing aid (HA) users in understanding distant talkers. In traditional clinical applications, a drawback of these systems is the deteriorated speech intelligibility in the near field. This study investigates advantages and disadvantages of clinical RM usage and the effects of different directionality settings of the HAs in complex listening situations in the laboratory. Speech intelligibility was investigated in 15 experienced severely hearing impaired participants in a noisy environment using a dual-task test paradigm where the tasks were presented from either a near field or a far field loudspeaker...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Hendrik Husstedt, Alfred Mertins, Marlitt Frenz
One objective way to evaluate the effect of noise reduction algorithms in hearing aids is to measure the increase in signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR). To this end, Hagerman and Olofsson presented a method where multiple recordings take place and the phase of one signal is inverted between the measurements. This phase inversion method allows one to separate signal and noise at the output of the hearing aid so that the increase in SNR can be evaluated. However, only two signals can be distinguished, for example, speech and noise...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Borys Kowalewski, Johannes Zaar, Michal Fereczkowski, Ewen N MacDonald, Olaf Strelcyk, Tobias May, Torsten Dau
There is conflicting evidence about the relative benefit of slow- and fast-acting compression for speech intelligibility. It has been hypothesized that fast-acting compression improves audibility at low signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) but may distort the speech envelope at higher SNRs. The present study investigated the effects of compression with a nearly instantaneous attack time but either fast (10 ms) or slow (500 ms) release times on consonant identification in hearing-impaired listeners. Consonant-vowel speech tokens were presented at a range of presentation levels in two conditions: in the presence of interrupted noise and in quiet (with the compressor "shadow-controlled" by the corresponding mixture of speech and noise)...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Hannah Guest, Rebecca S Dewey, Christopher J Plack, Samuel Couth, Garreth Prendergast, Warren Bakay, Deborah A Hall
Lifetime noise exposure is generally quantified by self-report. The accuracy of retrospective self-report is limited by respondent recall but is also bound to be influenced by reporting procedures. Such procedures are of variable quality in current measures of lifetime noise exposure, and off-the-shelf instruments are not readily available. The Noise Exposure Structured Interview (NESI) represents an attempt to draw together some of the stronger elements of existing procedures and to provide solutions to their outstanding limitations...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Lien Decruy, Neetha Das, Eline Verschueren, Tom Francart
In clinical practice and research, speech intelligibility is generally measured by instructing the participant to recall sentences. Although this is a reliable and highly repeatable measure, it cannot be used to measure intelligibility of connected discourse. Therefore, we developed a new method, the self-assessed Békesy procedure, which is an adaptive procedure that uses intelligibility ratings to converge to a person's speech reception threshold. In this study, we describe the new procedure and the validation in young, normal-hearing listeners...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Erin M Picou, Gurjit Singh, Huiwen Goy, Frank Russo, Louise Hickson, Andrew J Oxenham, Gabrielle H Buono, Todd A Ricketts, Stefan Launer
The question of how hearing loss and hearing rehabilitation affect patients' momentary emotional experiences is one that has received little attention but has considerable potential to affect patients' psychosocial function. This article is a product from the Hearing, Emotion, Amplification, Research, and Training workshop, which was convened to develop a consensus document describing research on emotion perception relevant for hearing research. This article outlines conceptual frameworks for the investigation of emotion in hearing research; available subjective, objective, neurophysiologic, and peripheral physiologic data acquisition research methods; the effects of age and hearing loss on emotion perception; potential rehabilitation strategies; priorities for future research; and implications for clinical audiologic rehabilitation...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
E J Bousema, E A Koops, P van Dijk, P U Dijkstra
Movements of the neck and jaw may modulate the loudness and pitch of tinnitus. The aim of the present study was to systematically analyze the strength of associations between subjective tinnitus, cervical spine disorders (CSD), and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). A systematic literature search of the Medline, Embase, and Pedro databases was carried out on articles published up to September 2017. This covered studies in which tinnitus and CSD or TMD were studied as a primary or a secondary outcome and in which outcomes were compared with a control group...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Christian Füllgrabe, Brian C J Moore
The ability to process binaural temporal fine structure (TFS) information, which influences the perception of speech in spatially distributed soundscapes, declines with increasing hearing loss and age. Because of the relatively small sample sizes used in previous studies, and the population-unrepresentative distribution of hearing loss and ages within study samples, it has been difficult to determine the relative and combined contributions of hearing loss and age. The aim of this study was to survey published and unpublished studies that assessed binaural TFS sensitivity using the TFS-low frequency (LF) test...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
Matthew B Winn, Dorothea Wendt, Thomas Koelewijn, Stefanie E Kuchinsky
Within the field of hearing science, pupillometry is a widely used method for quantifying listening effort. Its use in research is growing exponentially, and many labs are (considering) applying pupillometry for the first time. Hence, there is a growing need for a methods paper on pupillometry covering topics spanning from experiment logistics and timing to data cleaning and what parameters to analyze. This article contains the basic information and considerations needed to plan, set up, and interpret a pupillometry experiment, as well as commentary about how to interpret the response...
January 2018: Trends in Hearing
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