Head Angle and Elevation in Classroom Environments: Implications for Amplification Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine children’s head orientation relative to the arrival angle of competing signals and the sound source of interest in actual school settings. These data were gathered to provide information relative to the potential for directional benefit. Method Forty children, 4–17 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2008
Head Angle and Elevation in Classroom Environments: Implications for Amplification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Todd Andrew Ricketts
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences
  • Jason Galster
    Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences
  • Contact author: Todd A. Ricketts, Dan Maddox Hearing Aid Research Laboratory, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical 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
School-Based Settings / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2008
Head Angle and Elevation in Classroom Environments: Implications for Amplification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2008, Vol. 51, 516-525. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/037)
History: Received November 10, 2006 , Accepted August 5, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2008, Vol. 51, 516-525. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/037)
History: Received November 10, 2006; Accepted August 5, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine children’s head orientation relative to the arrival angle of competing signals and the sound source of interest in actual school settings. These data were gathered to provide information relative to the potential for directional benefit.

Method Forty children, 4–17 years of age, with and without hearing loss, completed the study. Deviation in head angle and elevation relative to the direction of sound sources of interest were measured in 40 school environments. Measurements were made on the basis of physical data and videotapes from 3 cameras placed within each classroom.

Results The results revealed similarly accurate head orientation across children with and without hearing loss when focusing on the 33% proportion of time in which children were most accurate. Orientation accuracy was not affected by age. The data also revealed that children with hearing loss were significantly more likely to orient toward brief utterances made by secondary talkers than were children with normal hearing.

Conclusions These data are consistent with the hypothesized association between hearing loss and increased visual monitoring. In addition, these results suggest that age does not limit the potential for signal-to-noise improvements from directivity-based interventions in noisy environments.

Acknowledgments
This study was made possible through Grant PR#H133G020097 from the U.S. Department of Education: Field-Initiated Research Grant.
Preliminary data based on the first 20 participants were previously published in Ricketts and Tharpe (2005) .
We would like to thank Nancy Hoffert and Ann Rothpletz for their assistance with data collection and analysis. We would also like to thank Anne Marie Tharpe for her input during various phases of project development and for her comments on earlier drafts of this article. In addition, we appreciate Vicki Powers with Nashville Metropolitan Public Schools for her assistance with participant recruitment. Finally, we thank all of the children who participated in this study.
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