Comparison of Objective and Subjective Measures of Speech Intelligibility in Elderly Hearing-Impaired Listeners Three experiments were performed to evaluate the use of subjective intelligibility estimations as a method for measuring hearing aid benefit. Subjective and objective speech intelligibility scores were compared for young normal-hearing and elderly hearing-impaired listeners. Objective intelligibility scores were obtained using the Connected Speech Test (CST). This test consists of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1991
Comparison of Objective and Subjective Measures of Speech Intelligibility in Elderly Hearing-Impaired Listeners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robyn M. Cox
    Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Memphis State University, and Veteran’s Admmlstration Medical Center Memphis, TN
  • Genevieve C. Alexander
    Veteran’s Administration Medical Center Memphis, TN
  • Izel M. Rivera
    Veteran’s Administration Medical Center Memphis, TN
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Robyn M. Cox, PhD, Memphis Speech and Hearing Center, 807 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105.
Article Information
Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1991
Comparison of Objective and Subjective Measures of Speech Intelligibility in Elderly Hearing-Impaired Listeners
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 904-915. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.904
History: Received March 30, 1990 , Accepted October 11, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 904-915. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.904
History: Received March 30, 1990; Accepted October 11, 1990

Three experiments were performed to evaluate the use of subjective intelligibility estimations as a method for measuring hearing aid benefit. Subjective and objective speech intelligibility scores were compared for young normal-hearing and elderly hearing-impaired listeners. Objective intelligibility scores were obtained using the Connected Speech Test (CST). This test consists of conversationally produced passages of speech that the listener repeats sentence by sentence. To provide subjective intelligibility scores, listeners estimated the percentage that they understood of each CST passage. Comparison of the two types of scores revealed that they were closely related in both groups of subjects (r=82–92). Although the two types of scores were essentially equal for normal-hearing subjects, the hearing-impaired listeners tended to produce subjective estimations of intelligibility that were significantly lower than their objective scores. Manipulation of visual cues and amplification, In an attempt to influence the hearing-impaired listeners’ expectation of understanding speech, had no effect on the subjectiveobjective score differential. The difference between subjective and objective scores in the hearing-impaired group was not related to audiometric variables such as speech reception threshold, audiogram, or duration of hearing loss. It was concluded that comparative hearing aid evaluations using subjective intelligibility estimates would usually produce the same relative outcome as evaluations using the objective intelligibility measurement procedure. However, scores obtained with the objective procedure had smaller critical differences. Thus, when both types of scores are based on the same number of passages, the objective measurement procedure would be the more sensitive to differences among hearing aids.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development service. Software to present and score the speech intelligibility tests was written by Robert M. Joyce. Julibeth Jones assisted in data collection.
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