Acoustical and Perceptual Comparison of Noise Reduction and Compression in Hearing Aids Purpose Noise reduction and dynamic-range compression are generally applied together in hearing aids but may have opposite effects on amplification. This study evaluated the acoustical and perceptual effects of separate and combined processing of noise reduction and compression. Design Recordings of the output of 4 hearing aids for ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
Acoustical and Perceptual Comparison of Noise Reduction and Compression in Hearing Aids
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Inge Brons
    Clinical and Experimental Audiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Rolph Houben
    Clinical and Experimental Audiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Wouter A. Dreschler
    Clinical and Experimental Audiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Inge Brons: I.Brons@amc.uva.nl
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts
    Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
Acoustical and Perceptual Comparison of Noise Reduction and Compression in Hearing Aids
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1363-1376. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0347
History: Received December 15, 2014 , Revised February 26, 2015 , Accepted June 15, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1363-1376. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0347
History: Received December 15, 2014; Revised February 26, 2015; Accepted June 15, 2015

Purpose Noise reduction and dynamic-range compression are generally applied together in hearing aids but may have opposite effects on amplification. This study evaluated the acoustical and perceptual effects of separate and combined processing of noise reduction and compression.

Design Recordings of the output of 4 hearing aids for speech in babble noise at +4 dB signal-to-noise ratio were used in 3 experiments: (a) acoustical measurements to determine the influence of processing on speech and noise levels; (b) perceptual measurements to determine the detectability of processing differences for 16 listeners with hearing impairment; and (c) perceptual measurements to determine the effect of processing on speech intelligibility, noise annoyance, speech naturalness, and overall preference.

Results Noise reduction and compression processing differed between hearing aids. The combined processing (noise reduction with compression) most strongly reduced noise and speech levels. The combined processing was detectably different between hearing aids, but compression processing alone was not. The combined processing did not influence speech intelligibility. Preference for combined processing was lower than previously observed for noise reduction without compression.

Conclusions Differences in processing between hearing aids are perceptually salient. The effect of compression should be taken into account during the development and evaluation of hearing aid noise reduction.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by grants from the Heinsius-Houbolt Fund.
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