The main purpose of hearing aid amplification is to improve the audibility of patients with hearing loss, especially the ability to listen to speech sounds. Due to hearing loss, the biggest problem that the elderly often encounter is that they can’t hear clearly in noisy background. Therefore, it is of great practical significance to study the relationship between audibility and speech recognition, especially considering other factors. According to the academic circles, the degree of the influence of audibility on speech recognition depends on the factors related to listening signals and patients themselves, mainly including the age of the listener, the characteristics of background noise and the amplification circuit technology of hearing aids, such as linear and wide dynamic compression and amplification. Through the research on the elderly hearing loss patients with the same hearing ability, audiologists hope to determine which age group the elderly patients’ speech recognition ability will decline on the basis of predicting the audibility.
In an experiment, researchers from the University of Washington found that the speech recognition ability of elderly patients is significantly different from the expected score as they grow older. From the variable of test signal, the recognition ability of the listener is higher than that of amplitude transform noise under the condition of stable intensity noise. From the perspective of amplification circuit, in all noise test environments, the speech recognition score of the elderly hearing loss patients in the test group is slightly higher than that of the wide dynamic range compression amplification speech signal when listening to the linear amplification speech signal. However, the study also found no correlation between age and noise type.
This study shows that the speech recognition score of amplitude varying noise is slightly lower than that of stable noise, while the noise is not related to age. Generally speaking, from the three factors of age, noise and amplification circuit, the elderly complain about speech comprehension difficulty in noisy conversation environment, which is not related to the above factors. The problems they face are likely to be related to the masking of speech information by noise, so further research is needed to determine.
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Link：The influence of age and noise on the effect of hearing aids
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