Pure-Tone–Spondee Threshold Relationships in Functional Hearing Loss: A Test of Loudness Contribution Purpose The purpose of this article is to examine explanations for pure-tone average–spondee threshold differences in functional hearing loss. Method Loudness magnitude estimation functions were obtained from 24 participants for pure tones (0.5 and 1.0 kHz), vowels, spondees, and speech-shaped noise as a function of level (20–90 dB ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2017
Pure-Tone–Spondee Threshold Relationships in Functional Hearing Loss: A Test of Loudness Contribution
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert S. Schlauch
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Heekyung J. Han
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Tzu-Ling J. Yu
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Edward Carney
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • 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 Robert S. Schlauch: schla001@umn.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts
    Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Psychogenic Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2017
Pure-Tone–Spondee Threshold Relationships in Functional Hearing Loss: A Test of Loudness Contribution
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 136-143. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0330
History: Received September 21, 2015 , Revised March 10, 2016 , Accepted April 22, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 136-143. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0330
History: Received September 21, 2015; Revised March 10, 2016; Accepted April 22, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this article is to examine explanations for pure-tone average–spondee threshold differences in functional hearing loss.

Method Loudness magnitude estimation functions were obtained from 24 participants for pure tones (0.5 and 1.0 kHz), vowels, spondees, and speech-shaped noise as a function of level (20–90 dB SPL). Participants listened monaurally through earphones. Loudness predictions were obtained for the same stimuli by using a computational, dynamic loudness model.

Results When evaluated at the same SPL, speech-shaped noise was judged louder than vowels/spondees, which were judged louder than tones. Equal-loudness levels were inferred from fitted loudness functions for the group. For the clinical application, the 2.1-dB difference between spondees and tones at equal loudness became a 12.1-dB difference when the stimuli were converted from SPL to HL.

Conclusions Nearly all of the pure-tone average–spondee threshold differences in functional hearing loss are attributable to references for calibration for 0 dB HL for tones and speech, which are based on detection and recognition, respectively. The recognition threshold for spondees is roughly 9 dB higher than the speech detection threshold; persons feigning a loss, who base loss magnitude on loudness, do not consider this difference. Furthermore, the dynamic loudness model was more accurate than the static model.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid of Research from the University of Minnesota, awarded to the first author, and by a Charles E. Speaks Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, awarded to the second author. We are grateful for Professor Brian Moore’s advice about implementing the dynamic loudness model for our conditions.
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