The Effects of Digital Signal Processing Features on Children's Speech Recognition and Loudness Perception Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of hearing instruments set to Desired Sensation Level version 5 (DSL v5) hearing instrument prescription algorithm targets and equipped with directional microphones and digital noise reduction (DNR) on children's sentence recognition in noise performance and loudness perception in a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 2014
The Effects of Digital Signal Processing Features on Children's Speech Recognition and Loudness Perception
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeffery Crukley
    The Brain & Mind Institute, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Susan D. Scollie
    National Centre for Audiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • 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 Jeffery Crukley: jcrukley@uwo.ca
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 2014
The Effects of Digital Signal Processing Features on Children's Speech Recognition and Loudness Perception
American Journal of Audiology, March 2014, Vol. 23, 99-115. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/13-0024)
History: Received May 16, 2013 , Revised July 12, 2013 , Accepted July 21, 2013
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 2014, Vol. 23, 99-115. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/13-0024)
History: Received May 16, 2013; Revised July 12, 2013; Accepted July 21, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of hearing instruments set to Desired Sensation Level version 5 (DSL v5) hearing instrument prescription algorithm targets and equipped with directional microphones and digital noise reduction (DNR) on children's sentence recognition in noise performance and loudness perception in a classroom environment.

Method Ten children (ages 8–17 years) with stable, congenital sensorineural hearing losses participated in the study. Participants were fitted bilaterally with behind-the-ear hearing instruments set to DSL v5 prescriptive targets. Sentence recognition in noise was evaluated using the Bamford–Kowal–Bench Speech in Noise Test (Niquette et al., 2003). Loudness perception was evaluated using a modified version of the Contour Test of Loudness Perception (Cox, Alexander, Taylor, & Gray, 1997).

Results Children's sentence recognition in noise performance was significantly better when using directional microphones alone or in combination with DNR than when using omnidirectional microphones alone or in combination with DNR. Children's loudness ratings for sounds above 72 dB SPL were lowest when fitted with the DSL v5 Noise prescription combined with directional microphones. DNR use showed no effect on loudness ratings.

Conclusion Use of the DSL v5 Noise prescription with a directional microphone improved sentence recognition in noise performance and reduced loudness perception ratings for loud sounds relative to a typical clinical reference fitting with the DSL v5 Quiet prescription with no digital signal processing features enabled. Potential clinical strategies are discussed.

Acknowledgments
Support for this work was provided by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Masons Help 2 Hear Foundation. We thank the staff and students of the school board and our liaison, Stella Ng, for facilitating data collection. We also thank Phonak AG for the donation of hearing instruments, and Supportive Hearing Systems for loaning the sound equipment used in this study. We extend special thanks to Andrea Dunn for her assistance.
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