Blog Archives

Hearing speech in music

The masking effect of a piano composition, played at different speeds and in different octaves, on speech-perception thresholds was investigated in 15 normal-hearing and 14 moderately-hearing-impaired subjects. Running speech (just follow conversation, JFC) testing and use of hearing aids increased the everyday validity of the findings. A comparison was made with standard audiometric noises [International Collegium of Rehabilitative Audiology (ICRA) noise and speech spectrum-filtered noise (SPN)]. All masking sounds, music or noise, were presented at the same equivalent sound level (50 dBA). The results showed a significant effect of piano performance speed and octave (P<.01). Low octave and fast tempo had the largest effect; and high octave and slow tempo, the smallest. Music had a lower masking effect than did ICRA noise with two or six speakers at normal vocal effort (P<.01) and SPN (P<.05). Subjects with hearing loss had higher masked thresholds than the normal-hearing subjects (P<.01), but there were smaller differences between masking conditions (P<.01). It is pointed out that music offers an interesting opportunity for studying masking under realistic conditions, where spectral and temporal features can be varied independently. The results have implications for composing music with vocal parts, designing acoustic environments and creating a balance between speech perception and privacy in social settings.

from Noise & Health

The influence of military service on auditory health and the efficacy of a hearing conservation program

The influence of military service on self-assessed hearing symptoms and measured auditory function was studied as well as the efficacy of the Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) of the Swedish Armed Forces. 839 conscripts were recruited for the study at reporting to military service. They were all exposed to noise over the risk-limits from weapons and vehicles and used earmuffs and/or earplugs. Questionnaires and pure tone screening audiometry were studied at the start and the end of the military service. Retrospective information regarding audiometry at conscription before military service was included as control. The prevalence values of tinnitus were 23% before and 32% after the service and of sensitivity to noise 16% and 19% respectively. The prevalence values of hearing impairment were 6.3% at conscription, 14.5% at reporting to military service, and 24% after the training period. The incidence values of hearing decline were 3.7% during the period with no military noise exposure and 6.6% during the military service. Acoustic accident increased the risk of worsened tinnitus and sensitivity to noise four times and for a high frequency hearing decline six times. We observed elevated prevalence values of tinnitus, sensitivity to noise and hearing impairment at discharge compared to before military service. We observed an elevated risk of hearing decline during military service. Acoustic accident increased the risk of tinnitus, noise sensitivity and hearing decline. We suggest improvements regarding inclusion criteria for military service, and for education regarding the HCP.

from Noise & Health

Working Memory Supports Listening in Noise for Persons with Hearing Impairment


Working memory is a crucial factor in speech understanding in noise for persons with hearing impairment, irrespective of whether hearing is aided or unaided. Working memory supports speech understanding in noise under conditions of both “high degradation” and “low degradation.” A subcomponent view of working memory may contribute to our understanding of these phenomena. The effect of cognition on speech understanding in modulated noise with fast-acting compression may only pertain after a period of 4-9 wk of familiarization and that prior to such a period, persons with lower cognitive capacity may benefit more from slow-acting compression.

from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

Children with hearing impairment – Living with cochlear implants or hearing aids

Children with cochlear implants and children with hearing aids have, in some aspects, equally good functioning in everyday life situations. However, certain differences were found in dimensions of functioning, regarding neck and shoulder pain, usage of aids and sign language, and hearing problems in some activities.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Vision and hearing impairments are associated with depressive-anxiety syndrome in Italian elderly

Conclusion: This study’s findings suggest that sensory impairment in older adults can increase their probability of experiencing depressive and anxiety syndrome. Correction of these deficits could improve the quality of life in this population.

from Aging and Mental Health

Social perception of deafness in the educational environment: designing an evaluation questionnaire

This article analyzes the results of a pilot study of the application of a proposed questionnaire on social perception of deafness in the primary and secondary education setting. The first part of the article discusses the rationale for evaluating the integration of deaf girls and boys in mainstream schools and the suitability of the questionnaire for this purpose.

The second part describes the process of drafting the items covering aspects such as the quality of communication, social perceptions of deafness from the point of view of the hearing person, deaf students’ self-esteem and the degree of social integration they can attain.

from Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología

Chronic suppurative otitis media in children of Luanda, Angola

Conclusion:  CSOM occurred in children with high co-morbidity. Persistent otorrhoea was usually caused by Proteus spp. or Pseudomonas, and often suggestive of either HIV or hearing impairment. In the developing countries, prompt diagnosis and treatment of CSOM would enhance the children’s linguistic and academic development.

from Acta Paediatrica

Cochlear function in 1-year-old term infants born with hypoxia-ischaemia or low Apgar scores

Conclusions: DPOAE pass rates, mainly at 1 and 2 kHz, were decreased at 1 year in infants born with perinatal HI and low Apgar scores, suggesting a relative poor cochlear function. Further studies are needed to ascertain the hearing acuity.

from the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Central auditory function in early Alzheimer’s disease and in mild cognitive impairment

our results demonstrate that central auditory processing dysfunction is highly evident in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, and to a considerable extent even in subjects with mild cognitive impairment.

from Age and Ageing

Evaluating Adaptation and Olivocochlear Efferent Feedback as Potential Explanations of Psychophysical Overshoot

Masked detection threshold for a short tone in noise improves as the tone’s onset is delayed from the masker’s onset. This improvement, known as “overshoot,” is maximal at mid-masker levels and is reduced by temporary and permanent cochlear hearing loss. Computational modeling was used in the present study to evaluate proposed physiological mechanisms of overshoot, including classic firing rate adaptation and medial olivocochlear (MOC) feedback, for both normal hearing and cochlear hearing loss conditions. These theories were tested using an established model of the auditory periphery and signal detection theory techniques. The influence of several analysis variables on predicted tone-pip detection in broadband noise was evaluated, including: auditory nerve fiber spontaneous-rate (SR) pooling, range of characteristic frequencies, number of synapses per characteristic frequency, analysis window duration, and detection rule. The results revealed that overshoot similar to perceptual data in terms of both magnitude and level dependence could be predicted when the effects of MOC efferent feedback were included in the auditory nerve model. Conversely, simulations without MOC feedback effects never produced overshoot despite the model’s ability to account for classic firing rate adaptation and dynamic range adaptation in auditory nerve responses. Cochlear hearing loss was predicted to reduce the size of overshoot only for model versions that included the effects of MOC efferent feedback. These findings suggest that overshoot in normal and hearing-impaired listeners is mediated by some form of dynamic range adaptation other than what is observed in the auditory nerve of anesthetized animals. Mechanisms for this adaptation may occur at several levels along the auditory pathway. Among these mechanisms, the MOC reflex may play a leading role.

from JARO — Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology

The genetic basis of auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD)

This paper has provided an overview of mutation with some of the genes and/or loci discovered to be the cause for auditory neuropathy spectrum disorders (ANSDs). It has been noted that different gene mutations may trigger different pathological changes in patients with this disorder. These discoveries have provided us with vital information as to the sites of pathology in auditory neuropathy spectrum disorders (ANSDs), and the results highlight the heterogeneity of the disorder.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Ear and hearing problems in relation to karyotype in children with Turner syndrome

The aim of the study was to report otologic and audiologic characteristics in a group of children with Turner syndrome (TS) and correlate these findings to karyotype. Additionally, we give recommendations for the otologic care of these children. Sixty children (age 1.7-21.2 years) were included in this retrospective study. Medical history and karyotypes were recorded and otologic and audiologic evaluation was performed. A history of recurrent otitis media was reported in 41/60 (68%) children and 3/60 (5%) had suffered from cholesteatoma. Audiometric data in 56 children revealed that normal hearing was only present in 33/112 (29%) ears. All other ears 79/112 (71%) were classified in five different audiometric categories for hearing loss. Hearing thresholds in general appeared to be about 10-11 dB worse in children with a monosomy 45,X or isochromosome (both have a total deletion of the short (p) arm of the X-chromosome) compared to those having a mosaicism or structural anomaly (partial deletion, or total deletion in only a few cells). Our findings support the hypothesis that hearing can be affected by loss of the p-arm of the X-chromosome. It is for the first time that a relation between hearing problems and karyotype is statistically confirmed in a large group of children with TS.

from Hearing Research

Early onset of family centred intervention predicts language outcomes in children with hearing loss

In managing intervention in children with hearing loss, time between diagnosis and onset of early intervention should be kept as short as possible. However, age of entry to early intervention explained only about 4% of the variance in language outcomes.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Measuring the Effects of Reverberation and Noise on Sentence Intelligibility for Hearing-Impaired Listeners

Conclusion: The STI appears to be a convenient, single number to quantify speech reception of hearing-impaired listeners in noise and/or reverberation, regardless of the nature of the hearing loss. In future research, the SRRT may be applied to further investigate the supposed importance of cognitive processing in reverberant listening conditions.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Attaining the lingual components of /r/ with ultrasound for three adolescents with cochlear implants

Children with hearing loss frequently have difficulty learning North American English /r/. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the remediation of North American English /r/ by establishing its tongue movement components for three adolescents with recent cochlear implants (CIs) through the use of ultrasound as an adjunct to speech therapy. The three adolescents had all been diagnosed with severe-to-profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, and had recently received unilateral CIs. All three students wore a hearing aid in their other ear. Ultrasound was used to assist in establishing the gestural components of /r/ as a starting point for accurate /r/ production: tongue root retraction, retroflexion or bunching and midline grooving. A single subject design was used, with analyses of the gestural components of /r/ before, during and after intervention. All participants were able to learn the gestural components of /r/ with ultrasound. Furthermore, one of the participants gained accurate production of /r/ in isolation and at the word level.

from the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology