Amplified Earmuffs Impact on Speech Intelligibility in Industrial Noise for Listeners With Hearing Loss Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2005
Amplified Earmuffs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Thomas G. Dolan
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207
  • Dennis O’Loughlin
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: dolant@pdx.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Research and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2005
Amplified Earmuffs
American Journal of Audiology, June 2005, Vol. 14, 80-85. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/007)
History: Received January 19, 2004 , Accepted January 14, 2005
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2005, Vol. 14, 80-85. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/007)
History: Received January 19, 2004; Accepted January 14, 2005

Purpose: To determine how amplified earmuffs affect the intelligibility of speech in noise for people with hearing loss, and to determine how various brands of amplified earmuffs compare in terms of speech intelligibility and electroacoustic response.

Method: The Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) was used to measure the intelligibility of speech for 10 participants with hearing loss when they listened in a background of recorded industrial noise at 85 dBA. Participants listened with 3 different sets of amplified earmuffs (Peltor Tactical 7-S, Elvex COM 55, and Bilsom 707 Impact II), with a set of passive earmuffs (E-A-R Ultra 9000), and with ears unoccluded. Two measurements of sentence threshold were obtained under each of the 5 listening conditions. Gain was measured electroacoustically across a range of input levels and frequencies for each amplified earmuff.

Results: Electroacoustic measurements indicated that each electronic earmuff amplified at low input levels and attenuated at high input levels. However, gain characteristics varied greatly across devices. HINT sentence thresholds were not significantly different across the 5 listening conditions or across the 2 trials.

Conclusion: Results suggest that each type of earmuff can be used to reduce the noise exposure of people with hearing loss without compromising their ability to understand speech.

Acknowledgments
We wish to thank Elliott Berger for his insightful suggestions on the design of this study and for his editorial comments. We are also grateful to Patty Sedivy for her assistance in conducting the electroacoustical measurements, and to Doug Martin and Alison Gilbert for their helpful comments.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Audiology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access