J Am Acad Audiol 2011; 22(05): 286-293
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.22.5.5
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2011) American Academy of Audiology

Most Comfortable Listening Levels, Background Noise Levels, and Acceptable Noise Levels for Children and Adults with Normal Hearing

Robert Moore
Susan Gordon-Hickey
Alisha Jones
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Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2020 (online)

Background: For adults the acceptable noise level (ANL) has been shown to be a strong predictor of hearing aid success. ANL is calculated as the difference between most comfortable listening level (MCL) and background noise level (BNL). No studies have made direct comparisons of these measures between adults and children.

Purpose: To evaluate and compare MCLs, BNLs, and ANLs in children and young adults.

Research Design: A cross-sectional design was used in this study. Two groups (children and adults) were tested for each dependent variable. MCLs and BNLs were measured for each participant, and ANLs were computed from these two measurements.

Study Sample: The participants were 34 children (8–10 yr) and 34 young adults (19–29 yr) with normal hearing.

Results: Significant main effects were found for MCLs and BNLs. There was no main effect for ANLs. MCLs and BNLs were significantly lower for the children than for the adults.

Conclusions: These results suggest that while ANLs are unchanged from childhood to adulthood, there appears to be a developmental change in MCLs and BNLs. These findings have implications for the use of ANLs in the pediatric population.