Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Au.D.

Degree Granting Department

Audiology

Major Professor

Hurley, Raymond

Keywords

hint, hearing in noise test, speech discrimination

Abstract

Understanding speech in background noise is occasionally difficult for normal hearing listeners and is often impossible for the listener with sensorineural hearing loss. The ability to understand speech in noise depends upon multiple factors such as the characteristics of the speech signal, the signal-to-noise ratio, and the listener's degree of hearing impairment. A routine hearing evaluation usually does not provide ample information about a listener's functional communication abilities. The Hearing-in-Noise Test (HINT) developed by The House Ear Institute provides an efficient and reliable method for evaluating an individual's suprathreshold speech understanding ability in quiet and in noise.

The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate monaural speech reception thresholds for sentences (RTS) in quiet and in noise using the standardized Hearing-in-Noise Test (HINT). Data was collected from one clinical setting using twenty-five subjects with bilateral normal hearing (WNL) and twenty subjects with bilaterally symmetrical sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Subject age ranged from 40 to 65 years. The study results were generally in agreement with the HINT norms. It was concluded that administering the HINT monaurally under headphones could differentiate between normal hearing individuals and individuals with cochlear hearing loss. The SNHL group exhibited higher RTSs than the WNL group in both quiet and in noise. The mean RTS difference between the two groups in quiet was 14.56 dB while the mean RTS difference in noise was only 2.85 dB. Surprisingly, the difference between the two subject groups in quiet was greater than was expected.

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