Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Discrimination of gain increments in speech-shaped noises

Caswell-Midwinter, Benjamin; Whitmer, William


Benjamin Caswell-Midwinter


Frequency-dependent gain adjustments are routine in hearing-aid fittings, whether in matching to real-ear targets or fine-tuning to patient feedback. Patient feedback may be unreliable and fittings inefficient if adjustments are not discriminable. To examine what gain adjustments are discriminable, we measured the just-noticeable differences (JNDs) for increments in speech-shaped noises processed with prescription gains. JNDs were measured in the better ears of 38 participants with hearing impairment using a fixed-level, same-different task. JNDs were measured for increments at six individual frequency-bands: a 0.25 kHz low-pass band, octave-wide bands at 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz, and a 6 kHz high-pass band. JNDs for broadband increments were also measured. JNDs were estimated at d’ of 1 for a minimally discriminable increment in optimal laboratory conditions. The JND for frequency-band increments was 2.8 dB excluding the 0.25 kHz low-pass band, for which the JND was 4.5 dB. The JND for broadband increments was 1.5 dB. Participants’ median frequency-band and broadband JNDs were positively correlated. JNDs were mostly independent of age, pure-tone thresholds and cognitive score. In consideration of self-fitting adjustments in noisier conditions, JNDs were additionally estimated at a more sensitive d’ of 2. These JNDs were 6 dB for bands below 1 kHz, and 5 dB for bands at and above 1 kHz. Overall, the results suggest noticeable fine-tuning adjustments of 3 dB and self-fitting adjustments of 5 dB.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 18, 2019
Journal Trends in Hearing
Electronic ISSN 2331-2165
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Pages 1-12
APA6 Citation Caswell-Midwinter, B., & Whitmer, W. (2019). Discrimination of gain increments in speech-shaped noises. Trends in Hearing, 23, 1-12.
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations