Effect of the type of noise and the spatial separation of the speech recognition measured using the HINT
Speech perception in noise is one of the most important tasks for proper communication in everyday listening situations. Multiple clinical tests have been developed to quantify difficulties understanding speech in continuous noise. However, it is now well recognized that everyday noises are fluctuating in nature, and that segments with lower noise levels allow listeners to more easily capture speech elements. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the performance of young adults with normal hearing on the HINT, under headphone sand in the sound field, using a modified 16?Hz interrupted version of the standard continuous noise. Normative data for the new intermittent noise was established in each of the three HINT noise conditions: Noise Front, Noise Right and Noise Left. When compared to performance with continuous noise, threshold improvements of 13 dB and 10 dB under headphones and of 9 dB and 6 dB in the sound field are noted in the Noise Front and Noise Side conditions, respectively. The binaural advantage (the threshold difference between the Noise Front and the Noise Side conditions) under headphones was approximately 8?9 dB and 5 dB for the continuous and intermittent noises,respectively, and 6?7 dB and 3?4 dB in the sound field for continuous and intermittent noises, respectively. Now that normative data is available for the modified 16?Hz intermittent noise, it could be useful to add at least one testing condition of intermittent noise to the clinical HINT. Such further testing would allow documentation of one’s ability to take advantage of “dips” in noise to increase speech recognition, particularly in individuals with hearing loss.
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