Assessing Advanced Hearing Aid Features using Behavioral Tasks that Vary in Cognitive Demand

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Assessing Advanced Hearing Aid Features using Behavioral Tasks that Vary in Cognitive Demand Assessing Advanced Hearing Aid Features using Behavioral Tasks that Vary in Cognitive Demand The primary aim of this project is to evaluate the benefits of five advanced hearing aid features (digital noise reduction, fast and slow amplitude compression, frequency lowering, and amplification bandwidth) using three tasks that vary in cognitive demand (speech perception, non-word detection, and word learning). Recent research has revealed a significant relation between the hearing aid users innate cognitive skills (working memory) and their ability to use certain advanced hearing aid features to perceive speech. The proposed research will reveal the relationship between these advanced hearing aid features and the cognitive demands of the auditory environment that all hearing aid users must manage regardless of their underlying cognitive ability. The performance of children and adults with mild to moderately severe, permanent hearing loss will be compared to that of a small group of children and adults with normal hearing. The performance of the normal-hearing listeners will provide reference levels to determine the degree to which hearing loss degrades performance for tasks that vary in cognitive demand. For each study, the hearing-impaired listeners will be fit with one commercial device for use during testing only. Five different devices (from different manufacturers) have been selected to represent the five advanced hearing aid features under investigation. The hearingimpaired listeners will complete the cognitive tasks in three listening conditions: unaided, aided only, and aided with the advanced hearing aid feature enabled. The results for each task will be compared within and across studies to determine the benefit of the advanced hearing aid feature relative to amplification alone. It is anticipated that performance will decrease significantly as the cognitive demand of the task increases. It is also expected that benefits from the use of advanced hearing aid features will increase with cognitive demand, although the size of the effect will vary across hearing aid features. Such results would reveal the impact that subtle acoustic effects have on cognitively demanding tasks. The outcomes of this research will provide empirical evidence regarding the benefits (or detriments) of advanced hearing aid features for performing cognitively demanding tasks that have greater ecological validity than traditional speech perception measures. Beneficiaries of this research include audiologists and hearing aid dispensers who choose these features for their patients, hearing aid manufacturers during the refinement and development of new features, and finally, children and adults with hearing loss who use these features to communicate and learn.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/26/138/31/15

Funding

  • INDUSTRY: Various Consortium Members: $150,000.00

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