Directional Effects on Infants and Young Children in Real Life: Implications for Amplification PurposeThis study examined the head orientation of young children in naturalistic settings and the acoustics of their everyday environments for quantifying the potential effects of directionality.MethodTwenty-seven children (11 with normal hearing, 16 with impaired hearing) between 11 and 78 months of age were video recorded in naturalistic settings for analyses ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2009
Directional Effects on Infants and Young Children in Real Life: Implications for Amplification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teresa Y. C. Ching
    National Acoustic Laboratories, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia, and The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre, Victoria, Australia
  • Anna O’Brien
    National Acoustic Laboratories
  • Harvey Dillon
    National Acoustic Laboratories and The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre
  • Josef Chalupper
    Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Siemens Hearing Instruments), Erlangen, Germany
  • Lisa Hartley
    National Acoustic Laboratories
  • David Hartley
    National Acoustic Laboratories
  • George Raicevich
    National Acoustic Laboratories
  • Jens Hain
    Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH (Siemens Hearing Instruments)
  • Contact author: Teresa Y.-C. Ching, National Acoustic Laboratories, 126 Greville Street, Chatswood, New South Wales 2067, Australia. E-mail: teresa.ching@nal.gov.au.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   October 01, 2009
Directional Effects on Infants and Young Children in Real Life: Implications for Amplification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1241-1254. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0261)
History: Received December 18, 2008 , Accepted May 10, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1241-1254. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0261)
History: Received December 18, 2008; Accepted May 10, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

PurposeThis study examined the head orientation of young children in naturalistic settings and the acoustics of their everyday environments for quantifying the potential effects of directionality.

MethodTwenty-seven children (11 with normal hearing, 16 with impaired hearing) between 11 and 78 months of age were video recorded in naturalistic settings for analyses of head orientation. Reports on daily activities were obtained from caregivers. The effect of directionality in different environments was quantified by measuring the Speech Transmission Index (STI; H. J. M. Steeneken & T. Houtgast, 1980).

ResultsAveraged across 4 scenarios, children looked in the direction of a talker for 40% of the time when speech was present. Head orientation was not affected by age or hearing status. The STI measurements revealed a directional advantage of 3 dB when a child looked at a talker but a deficit of 2.8 dB when the talker was sideways or behind the child. The overall directional effect in real life was between −0.4 and 0.2 dB.

ConclusionsThe findings suggest that directional microphones in personal hearing devices for young children are not detrimental and have much potential for benefits in real life. The benefits may be enhanced by fitting directionality early and by counseling caregivers on ways to maximize benefits in everyday situations.

Acknowledgments
Parts of this article were presented at the 29th International Congress of Audiology in Hong Kong, June 2008, and the Newborn Hearing Screening 2008 Conference in Cernobbio (Como Lake), Italy, June 2008. We thank Catherine Morgan for her assistance in video analyses. We are very grateful to all the children and their families for their participation in this study.
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