J Audiol Otol.  2020 Oct;24(4):180-190. 10.7874/jao.2020.00031.

Effect of Digital Noise Reduction of Hearing Aids on Music and Speech Perception

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Hallym University of Graduate Studies, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Eulji University School of Medicine, Nowon Eulji Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 3HUGS Center for Hearing and Speech Research, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background and Objectives
Although many studies have evaluated the effect of the digital noise reduction (DNR) algorithm of hearing aids (HAs) on speech recognition, there are few studies on the effect of DNR on music perception. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effect of DNR on music, in addition to speech perception, using objective and subjective measurements.
Subjects and Methods
Sixteen HA users participated in this study (58.00±10.44 years; 3 males and 13 females). The objective assessment of speech and music perception was based on the Korean version of the Clinical Assessment of Music Perception test and word and sentence recognition scores. Meanwhile, for the subjective assessment, the quality rating of speech and music as well as self-reported HA benefits were evaluated.
Results
There was no improvement conferred with DNR of HAs on the objective assessment tests of speech and music perception. The pitch discrimination at 262 Hz in the DNR-off condition was better than that in the unaided condition (p=0.024); however, the unaided condition and the DNR-on conditions did not differ. In the Korean music background questionnaire, responses regarding ease of communication were better in the DNR-on condition than in the DNR-off condition (p=0.029).
Conclusions
Speech and music perception or sound quality did not improve with the activation of DNR. However, DNR positively influenced the listener’s subjective listening comfort. The DNR-off condition in HAs may be beneficial for pitch discrimination at some frequencies.

Keyword

Hearing aid; Hearing loss; Speech perception; Music; Signal-to-noise ratio
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