High-Frequency Amplification and Sound Quality in Listeners With Normal Through Moderate Hearing Loss Purpose One factor that has been shown to greatly affect sound quality is audible bandwidth. Provision of gain for frequencies above 4–6 kHz has not generally been supported for groups of hearing aid wearers. The purpose of this study was to determine if preference for bandwidth extension in hearing aid ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2008
High-Frequency Amplification and Sound Quality in Listeners With Normal Through Moderate Hearing Loss
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Todd A. Ricketts
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Nashville, TN
  • Andrew B. Dittberner
    Great Nordic Research Group, Chicago, IL
  • Earl E. Johnson
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences
  • Contact author: Todd A. Ricketts, Dan Maddox Hearing Aid Research Laboratory, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, 1215 21st Avenue South, Room 8310, Medical Center East, South Tower, Nashville, TN 37232-8242. E-mail: todd.a.ricketts@vanderbilt.edu.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2008
High-Frequency Amplification and Sound Quality in Listeners With Normal Through Moderate Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 160-172. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/012)
History: Received September 1, 2006 , Revised December 21, 2006 , Accepted June 12, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 160-172. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/012)
History: Received September 1, 2006; Revised December 21, 2006; Accepted June 12, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 50

Purpose One factor that has been shown to greatly affect sound quality is audible bandwidth. Provision of gain for frequencies above 4–6 kHz has not generally been supported for groups of hearing aid wearers. The purpose of this study was to determine if preference for bandwidth extension in hearing aid processed sounds was related to the magnitude of hearing loss in individual listeners.

Method Ten participants with normal hearing and 20 participants with mild-to-moderate hearing loss completed the study. Signals were processed using hearing aid–style compression algorithms and filtered using two cutoff frequencies, 5.5 and 9 kHz, which were selected to represent bandwidths that are achievable in modern hearing aids. Round-robin paired comparisons based on the criteria of preferred sound quality were made for 2 different monaurally presented brief sound segments, including music and a movie.

Results Results revealed that preference for either the wider or narrower bandwidth (9- or 5.5-kHz cutoff frequency, respectively) was correlated with the slope of hearing loss from 4 to 12 kHz, with steep threshold slopes associated with preference for narrower bandwidths.

Conclusion Consistent preference for wider bandwidth is present in some listeners with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

Acknowledgments
This study was made possible by a grant from Great Nordic Research Group and through the support of the Dan Maddox Foundation. We thank Anne Marie Tharpe for her comments on an earlier version of this article.
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