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Vol. 40 No. 4, July/August 2003


A word-recognition task in multitalker babble using a descending presentation mode from 24 dB to 0 dB signal to babble

Richard H. Wilson, PhD; Harvey B. Abrams, PhD; Amanda L. Pillion, MEd
James H. Quillen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center Mountain Home, TN; Departments of Surgery and Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN; VA Medical Center, Bay Pines, FL; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Abstract — A speech-in-multitalker-babble test instrument was developed for use in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) multicenter study examining the effects of hearing loss on self-perceived quality of life. Word recognition in quiet and in multitalker babble was measured on 24 listeners with normal hearing and 24 listeners with sensorineural hearing loss. The protocol involved the presentation of 10 monosyllabic words (each in a unique babble segment) at each of seven signal-to-babble (S/B) ratios from 24 dB to 0 dB, with the babble fixed at 60 dB HL (hearing loss). Word recognition in quiet at 60 dB and 80 dB HL for both groups was >90% correct. Two trials on the task were conducted. In babble, the 50% correct points were at 4.1 dB and 9.4 dB S/B for the listeners with normal hearing and hearing loss, respectively, with the 90th percentile for the listeners with normal hearing at 6 dB S/B. Twenty-two of the twenty-four listeners with hearing loss had 50% correct points outside of the 90th percentile for listeners with normal hearing. Test-retest reliability was excellent.
Key words: auditory perception, hearing loss, speech perception, word recognition in multitalker babble.

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