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The Effects of Audiovisual Stimulation on the Acceptance of Background Noise
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: Previous examinations of noise acceptance have been conducted using an auditory stimulus only; however, the effect of visual speech supplementation of the auditory stimulus on acceptance of noise remains limited.
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of audiovisual stimulation on the acceptance of noise in listeners with normal and impaired hearing.
Research Design: A repeated measures design was utilized.
Study Sample: A total of 92 adult participants were recruited for this experiment. Of these participants, 54 were listeners with normal hearing and 38 were listeners with sensorineural hearing impairment.
Data Collection and Analysis: Most comfortable levels and acceptable noise levels (ANL) were obtained using auditory and auditory–visual stimulation modes for the unaided listening condition for each participant and for the aided listening condition for 35 of the participants with impaired hearing that owned hearing aids. Speech reading ability was assessed using the Utley test for each participant.
Results: The addition of visual input did not impact the most comfortable level values for listeners in either group; however, visual input improved unaided ANL values for listeners with normal hearing and aided ANL values in listeners with impaired hearing. ANL benefit received from visual speech input was related to the auditory ANL in listeners in each group; however, it was not related to speech reading ability for either listener group in any experimental condition.
Conclusions: Visual speech input can significantly impact measures of noise acceptance. The current ANL measure may not accurately reflect acceptance of noise values when in more realistic environments, where the signal of interest is both audible and visible to the listener.