Speech Intelligibility in Noise with Ear Protectors
AbstractSpeech perception was tested in high level noise under controlled laboratory conditions in noise-exposed workmen and normal subjects, with and without a hearing protector. The group was further divided by age and English fluency, the latter group being included because of the high proportion of non-fluent English speakers in the Canadian workforce. In normal-hearing subjects the highest discrimination scores were found without background noise; they were lower with white noise as a masker, and even lower with crowd noise as a masker; wearing of a protector had no effect on intelligibility. The results for non-fluent English speakers were parallel with these results, but the scores were lower in all test conditions. In the presence of a high frequency hearing loss speech discrimination was lower than in the normals in quiet and in noise. The addition of a hearing protector dropped their discrimination score even further. In a flat hearing loss, wearing of a protector also worsened the speech discrimination score. The results are discussed.
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