Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr. Susan Scollie

Abstract

The goals of this project were to identify and evaluate strategies for non-quiet listening needs of children with hearing loss who wear hearing instruments.

Three studies were undertaken: 1) an exploration of the listening environments and situations experienced by children from daycare to high school during the school-day; 2) a comparative evaluation of consonant recognition, sentence recognition in noise, and loudness perception with the Desired Sensation Level version 5 (DSL v5) Quiet and Noise prescriptions and 3) a comparative evaluation of sentence recognition in noise and loudness perception with DSL v 5 Quiet and Noise paired with the hearing instrument features of directional microphone and digital noise reduction (DNR) technology.

Results of the first study showed that children experience a wide variety of listening environments and situations, most of which can be classified as “non-quiet”. This finding confirms the need for the development of processing strategies for children listening in non-quiet environments and situations. The second study showed that the DSL v5 Noise prescription does not negatively impact consonant recognition except at low levels, with no significant differences in sentence recognition in noise. Improved comfort for loud sounds was afforded by DSL v5 Noise compared to DSL v5 Quiet. The third study showed that the optimal combination of prescription and hearing instrument features tested was DSL v5 Noise with a directional microphone.

The results of these three studies offer a starting point for the development of a protocol for providing a non-quiet listening strategy for children who wear hearing instruments. This result is a significant contribution to the currently discrepant guidelines across countries and pediatric audiology organizations.


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