Do Older Listeners With Hearing Loss Benefit From Dynamic Pitch for Speech Recognition in Noise? Purpose Dynamic pitch, the variation in the fundamental frequency of speech, aids older listeners' speech perception in noise. It is unclear, however, whether some older listeners with hearing loss benefit from strengthened dynamic pitch cues for recognizing speech in certain noise scenarios and how this relative benefit may be associated ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 12, 2017
Do Older Listeners With Hearing Loss Benefit From Dynamic Pitch for Speech Recognition in Noise?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jing Shen
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Pamela E. Souza
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • 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 Jing Shen: jing.shen@northwestern.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Issue: Select Papers From the Hearing Across the Lifespan (HEAL) 2016 Conference / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 12, 2017
Do Older Listeners With Hearing Loss Benefit From Dynamic Pitch for Speech Recognition in Noise?
American Journal of Audiology, October 2017, Vol. 26, 462-466. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-16-0137
History: Received December 30, 2016 , Revised June 5, 2017 , Accepted June 19, 2017
 
American Journal of Audiology, October 2017, Vol. 26, 462-466. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-16-0137
History: Received December 30, 2016; Revised June 5, 2017; Accepted June 19, 2017

Purpose Dynamic pitch, the variation in the fundamental frequency of speech, aids older listeners' speech perception in noise. It is unclear, however, whether some older listeners with hearing loss benefit from strengthened dynamic pitch cues for recognizing speech in certain noise scenarios and how this relative benefit may be associated with individual factors. We first examined older individuals' relative benefit between natural and strong dynamic pitches for better speech recognition in noise. Further, we reported the individual factors of the 2 groups of listeners who benefit differently from natural and strong dynamic pitches.

Method Speech reception thresholds of 13 older listeners with mild–moderate hearing loss were measured using target speech with 3 levels of dynamic pitch strength. Individuals' ability to benefit from dynamic pitch was defined as the speech reception threshold difference between speeches with and without dynamic pitch cues.

Results The relative benefit of natural versus strong dynamic pitch varied across individuals. However, this relative benefit remained consistent for the same individuals across those background noises with temporal modulation. Those listeners who benefited more from strong dynamic pitch reported better subjective speech perception abilities.

Conclusion Strong dynamic pitch may be more beneficial than natural dynamic pitch for some older listeners to recognize speech better in noise, particularly when the noise has temporal modulation.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grants F32DC014629, awarded to Jing Shen, and R01DC12289, awarded to Pamela Souza). The authors thank Richard Wright for helpful suggestions on the study design; Arleen Li, Laura Mathews, and Paul Reinhart for assistance with data collection; and Tim Schoof for help with the experiment program. The data were presented at the Hearing Across the Lifespan Conference, Cernobbio, Italy.
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