Aided Speech Recognition Abilities of Adults With a Severe or Severe-to-Profound Hearing Loss Adults with severe or severe-to-profound hearing losses constitute between 11% and 13.5% of the hearing-impaired population. A detailed investigation of the speech recognition of adults with severe (n=20) or severe-to-profound (n=14) hearing loss was conducted at The University of Melbourne. Each participant took part in a series of speech recognition ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Aided Speech Recognition Abilities of Adults With a Severe or Severe-to-Profound Hearing Loss
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark C. Flynn
    Department of Otolaryngology The University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia
  • Richard C. Dowell
    Department of Otolaryngology The University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia
  • Graeme M. Clark
    Department of Otolaryngology The University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia
  • Contact author: Mark C. Flynn, PhD, Department of Otolaryngology, The University of Melbourne, 32 Gisbourne Street, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia. Email: m.flynn@medoto.unimelb.edu.au
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Aided Speech Recognition Abilities of Adults With a Severe or Severe-to-Profound Hearing Loss
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 285-299. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.285
History: Received February 17, 1997 , Accepted August 28, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 285-299. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.285
History: Received February 17, 1997; Accepted August 28, 1997

Adults with severe or severe-to-profound hearing losses constitute between 11% and 13.5% of the hearing-impaired population. A detailed investigation of the speech recognition of adults with severe (n=20) or severe-to-profound (n=14) hearing loss was conducted at The University of Melbourne. Each participant took part in a series of speech recognition tasks while wearing his or her currently fitted hearing aid(s). The assessments included closed-set tests of consonant recognition and vowel recognition, combined with open-set tests of monosyllabic word recognition and sentence recognition. Sentences were presented in quiet and in noise at +10 dB SNR to replicate an environment more typical of everyday listening conditions. Although the results demonstrated wide variability in performance, some general trends were observed. As expected vowels were generally well perceived compared with consonants. Monosyllabic word recognition scores for both the adults with a severe hearing impairment (M=67.2%) and the adults with a severe-to-profound hearing impairment (M=38.6%) could be predicted from the segmental tests, with an allowance for lexical effects. Scores for sentences presented in quiet showed additional linguistic effects and a significant decrease in performance with the addition of background noise (from 82.9% to 74.1% for adults with a severe hearing loss and from 55.8% to 34.2% for adults with a severe-to-profound hearing loss). Comparisons were made between the participants and a group of adults using a multiple-channel cochlear implant. This comparison indicated that some adults with a severe or severe-toprofound hearing loss may benefit from the use of a cochlear implant. The results of this study support the contention that cochlear implant candidacy should not rely solely on audiometric thresholds.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Doris Kirn (Australian Hearing Services), Lesley Whitford (Cochlear Ltd.), the audiologists in the Department of Otolaryngology (University of Melbourne), and the staff of the Cochlear Implant Clinic (RVEEH) for the time and energy they spent in locating potential participants for this study. We would also like to thank Dr. Margo Skinner (Washington University) for allowing us to use the data from the Skinner et al. (1994)  study. This research was partially supported by an Australian Postgraduate Research Award.
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