Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr. Margaret Cheesman

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Vijay Parsa

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

This thesis has two main objectives: 1) evaluating the benefits of the bilateral coordination of the hearing aid Digital Signal Processing (DSP) features by measuring and comparing the auditory performance with and without the activation of this coordination, and 2) evaluating the benefits of acclimatization and auditory training on such auditory performance and, determining whether receiving training in one aspect of auditory performance (sound localization) would generalize to an improvement in another aspect of auditory performance (speech intelligibility in noise), and to what extent. Two studies were performed. The first study evaluated the speech intelligibility in noise and horizontal sound localization abilities in HI listeners using hearing aids that apply bilateral coordination of WDRC. A significant improvement was noted in sound localization with bilateral coordination on when compared to off, while speech intelligibility in noise did not seem to be affected. The second study was an extension of the first study, with a suitable period for acclimatization provided and then the participants were divided into training and control groups. Only the training group received auditory training. The training group performance was significantly better than the control group performance in some conditions, in both the speech intelligibility and the localization tasks. The bilateral coordination did not have significant effects on the results of the second study.

This work is among the early literature to investigate the impact of bilateral coordination in hearing aids on the users’ auditory performance. Also, this work is the first to demonstrate the effect of auditory training in sound localization on the speech intelligibility performance.


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