Objective: The objective of this study was to compare speech recognition across a sampling of amplification choices available for listeners with severe loss. This includes conventional options (linear with peak clipping and linear with compression limiting) and newer strategies (multichannel wide-dynamic range compression [WDRC]) theorized to better accommodate reduced dynamic range. A second objective was to compare speech quality across the same conditions using a paired-comparison test. Design: Participants were 13 adults with severe sensorineural hearing loss and a control group of seven adults with normal hearing. Test materials included consonant-vowel syllables (speech recognition) and sentences (speech quality). Four amplification conditions were included: peak clipping; compression limiting; two-channel WDRC; and three-channel WDRC, with overall audibility similar across conditions. In the WDRC conditions, the compression ratio was fixed at 3:1 in each channel. Consonant recognition was measured using a closed-set task, and speech quality was measured using a paired-comparison test. Results: For the listeners with severe loss, recognition and preference were lower for a three-channel WDRC system than for a compression limiting system. Specific errors were consistent with poorer transmission of amplitude envelope information by the multichannel WDRC systems. Conclusions: Under some conditions, the benefit of fast-acting, multichannel WDRC systems relative to more linear amplification strategies may be reduced in listeners with severe loss. Performance decrements with these systems are consistent with consequences of broader auditory filters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing