Hearing Aid Saturation and Aided Loudness Discomfort Clinical measurements of the loudness discomfort level (LDL) are generally performed while the subject listens to a particular stimulus presented from an audiometer through headphones (AUD-HP). The assumption in clinical practice has been that the sound pressure level (SPL) corresponding to the sensation of loudness discomfort under AUD-HP conditions will ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1992
Hearing Aid Saturation and Aided Loudness Discomfort
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Todd W. Fortune
    Argosy Electronics Eden Prairie, MN
  • David A. Preves
    Argosy Electronics Eden Prairie, MN
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1992
Hearing Aid Saturation and Aided Loudness Discomfort
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 175-185. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.175
History: Accepted April 5, 1990 , Received October 31, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 175-185. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.175
History: Accepted April 5, 1990; Received October 31, 1990

Clinical measurements of the loudness discomfort level (LDL) are generally performed while the subject listens to a particular stimulus presented from an audiometer through headphones (AUD-HP). The assumption in clinical practice has been that the sound pressure level (SPL) corresponding to the sensation of loudness discomfort under AUD-HP conditions will be the same as that corresponding to LDL with the hearing aid. This assumption ignores the fact that the distortion produced by a saturating hearing aid could have an influence on the sensation of loudness. To examine these issues, 5 hearing-impaired subjects were each fit with four linear hearing aids, each having a different saturation sound pressure level (SSPL90). Probe-tube microphone measurements of ear canal SPL at LDL were made while the subjects listened to continuous discourse in quiet under aided and AUD-HP conditions. Also using continuous discourse, real-ear coherence measures were made at various output sound pressure levels near LDL. All four hearing aid types produced mean LDLs that were lower than those obtained under AUD-HP conditions. Those hearing aids with higher SSPL90 produced significantly higher LDLs than hearing aids with lower SSPL90. A significant negative correlation was found between real-ear SPL and real-ear coherence. Quality judgments made at LDL indicated that sound quality of hearing aids with higher SSPL90 was preferred to that of hearing aids with lower SSPL90. Possible fitting implications regarding the setting of SSPL90 from AUD-HP LDL measures are discussed.

Acknowledgments
Our sincere appreciation is extended to Carol Sammeth for her insightful suggestions on this manuscript. Valuable suggestions were also made by Edwin Burnett and two anonymous reviewers, whose comments are gratefully acknowledged.
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