Comparison of Hearing-Aid Gain Using Functional, Coupler, and Probe-Tube Measurements Measurements of functional gain were compared first to coupler gain for 57 subjects using one of three hearing aid—earmold combinations and second to probe-tube gain for 12 subjects using in-the-ear hearing aids. The average difference between functional and coupler gain plotted as a function of frequency yielded results that were ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1986
Comparison of Hearing-Aid Gain Using Functional, Coupler, and Probe-Tube Measurements
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David Mason
    Central Institute for the Deaf, St. Louis, MO
  • Gerald R. Popelka
    Central Institute for the Deaf, St. Louis, MO
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1986
Comparison of Hearing-Aid Gain Using Functional, Coupler, and Probe-Tube Measurements
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1986, Vol. 29, 218-226. doi:10.1044/jshr.2902.218
History: Received March 13, 1985 , Accepted November 6, 1985
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1986, Vol. 29, 218-226. doi:10.1044/jshr.2902.218
History: Received March 13, 1985; Accepted November 6, 1985

Measurements of functional gain were compared first to coupler gain for 57 subjects using one of three hearing aid—earmold combinations and second to probe-tube gain for 12 subjects using in-the-ear hearing aids. The average difference between functional and coupler gain plotted as a function of frequency yielded results that were similar to previous reports, with the greatest effects occurring at 3000 and 4000 Hz. Significant differences were seen among hearing aid—earmold combinations at 3000, 4000, and 6000 Hz. Standard deviations for measurements between 750 and 2000 Hz were less than 5 dB and could be explained by variability of functional gain measures associated with test—retest variability of thresholds measured in a sound field. Below 750 Hz and above 2000 Hz, standard deviations exceeded 5 dB. The greater variability may be explained by differences in earmold venting, acoustic characteristics of the ear canal, and stimuli used to measure functional and coupler gain. Neither room nor hearing-aid noise appeared to affect the results significantly. When functional gain was compared to insertion gain measured with a probe-tube system, the average difference across frequencies was less than 1 dB. The variability of the differences at all frequencies, with the exception of 6000 Hz, was within the range reported for functional gain measurements. It was concluded that functional gain can be accurately estimated using probe-tube measurements.

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