J Am Acad Audiol
DOI: 10.1055/a-1678-3381
Research Article

Influence of audibility and distortion on the recognition of reverberant speech for children and adults with hearing aid amplification

speech recognition in reverberation
Marc Brennan
1  Special Education and Communication Disorders, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, United States (Ringgold ID: RIN14719)
Ryan Mccreery
2  Audiology, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, United States
John Massey
3  Silverstein Institute, Sarasota, United States
› Author Affiliations
Supported by: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders P20 GM109023,P30 DC4662,R01 DC013591,T35 DC008757

Background: Adults and children with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) have trouble understanding speech in rooms with reverberation when using hearing aid amplification. While the use of amplitude compression signal processing in hearing aids may contribute to this difficulty, there is conflicting evidence on the effects of amplitude compression settings on speech recognition. Less clear is the effect of a fast release time for adults and children with SNHL when using compression ratios derived from a prescriptive procedure. Purpose: To determine whether release time impacts speech recognition in reverberation for children and adults with SNHL and to determine if these effects of release time and reverberation can be predicted using indices of audibility or temporal and spectral distortion. Research Design: A quasi-experimental cohort study. Participants used a hearing aid simulator set to the Desired Sensation Level algorithm m[i/o] for three different amplitude compression release times. Reverberation was simulated using three different reverberation times. Participants: Participants were 20 children and 16 adults with SNHL. Data Collection and Analyses: Participants were seated in a sound-attenuating booth and then nonsense syllable recognition was measured. Predictions of speech recognition were made using indices of audibility, temporal distortion, and spectral distortion and the effects of release time and reverberation were analyzed using linear mixed models. Results: While nonsense syllable recognition decreased in reverberation; release time did not significantly affect nonsense syllable recognition. Participants with lower audibility were more susceptible to the negative effect of reverberation on nonsense syllable recognition. Conclusions: We have extended previous work on the effects of reverberation on aided speech recognition to children with SNHL. Variations in release time did not impact the understanding of speech. An index of audibility best predicted nonsense syllable recognition in reverberation and, clinically, these results suggest that patients with less audibility are more susceptible to nonsense syllable recognition in reverberation.

Publication History

Received: 14 September 2020

Accepted after revision: 21 October 2021

Publication Date:
25 October 2021 (online)

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