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The effect of stimulus duration on preferences for gain adjustments when listening to speech

Whitmer, William M.; Caswell-Midwinter, Benjamin; Naylor, Graham

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Benjamin Caswell-Midwinter

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Professor of Hearing Sciences


Objectives: In the personalisation of hearing-aid fittings, gain is often adjusted to suit patient preferences using live speech. When using brief sentences as stimuli, the minimum gain adjustments necessary to elicit consistent preferences (“preference thresholds”) were previously found to be much greater than typical adjustments in current practice. The current study examined the role of duration on preference thresholds. Design: Participants heard 2, 4 and 6-s segments of a continuous monologue presented successively in pairs. The first segment of each pair was presented at each individual’s real-ear or prescribed gain. The second segment was presented with a ±0–12 dB gain adjustment in one of three frequency bands. Participants judged whether the second was “better”, “worse” or “no different” from the first. Study sample: Twenty-nine adults, all with hearing-aid experience. Results: The minimum gain adjustments needed to elicit “better” or “worse” judgments decreased with increasing duration for most adjustments. Inter-participant agreement and intra-participant reliability increased with increasing duration up to 4 s, then remained stable. Conclusions: Providing longer stimuli improves the likelihood of patients providing reliable judgments of hearing-aid gain adjustments, but the effect is limited, and alternative fitting methods may be more viable for effective hearing-aid personalisation.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 11, 2021
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Oct 21, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 11, 2021
Journal International Journal of Audiology
Print ISSN 1499-2027
Electronic ISSN 1708-8186
Publisher Informa UK Limited
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 61
Issue 11
Pages 940-947
Keywords Speech and Hearing; Linguistics and Language; Language and Linguistics
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