A comparison of speech intelligibility and subjective quality with hearing-aid processing in older adults with hearing loss

Kathryn H. Arehart*, Song Hui Chon, Emily M.H. Lundberg, Lewis O. Harvey, James M. Kates, Melinda C. Anderson, Varsha H. Rallapalli, Pamela E. Souza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: This study characterised the relationship between speech intelligibility and quality in listeners with hearing loss for a range of hearing-aid processing settings and acoustic conditions. Design: Binaural speech intelligibility scores and quality ratings were measured for sentences presented in babble noise and processed through a hearing-aid simulation. The intelligibility–quality relationship was investigated by (1) assessing the effects of experimental conditions on each task; (2) directly comparing intelligibility scores and quality ratings for each participant across the range of conditions; and (3) comparing the association between signal envelope fidelity (represented by a cepstral correlation metric) and intelligibility and quality. Study sample: Participants were 15 adults (7 females; age range 59–81 years) with mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss. Results: Intelligibility and quality showed a positive association both with each other and with changes to signal fidelity introduced by the entire acoustic and signal-processing system including the additive noise and the hearing-aid output. As signal fidelity decreased, quality ratings changed at a slower rate than intelligibility scores. Individual psychometric functions were more variable for quality compared to intelligibility. Conclusions: Variability in the intelligibility–quality relationship reinforces the importance of measuring both intelligibility and quality in clinical hearing-aid fittings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Speech intelligibility
  • envelope modulation
  • hearing loss
  • hearing-aid signal processing
  • speech quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of speech intelligibility and subjective quality with hearing-aid processing in older adults with hearing loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this