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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 42 Number 6, November/December 2005
Pages 839 — 852

Abstract - Use of 35 words for evaluation of hearing loss in signal-to-babble ratio: A clinic protocol

Richard H. Wilson, PhD;1-2* Christopher A. Burks, MS1

1James H. Quillen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN; 2Departments of Surgery
and Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Abstract — Data from earlier studies that presented 70 words at 24 to 0 dB signal-to-babble (S/B) ratios indicated that most young listeners with normal hearing required 0 to 6 dB S/B ratios to attain 50% correct word recognition. Older listeners with hearing loss often required a >12 dB S/B ratio to attain 50% correct word recognition. In our study, we converted the Words in Noise test from one 70-word list into two 35-word lists for quicker administration by clinicians. Using baseline data from previous studies, we used two strategies to randomize the 35-word lists: based on recognition performance at each S/B ratio and based on recognition performance only. With the first randomization strategy, the 50% correct word-recognition points on the two lists differed by 0.5 dB for 72 listeners with hearing loss. With the second randomization strategy, 48 listeners with hearing loss performed identically on the two lists.
Key words: aging, auditory perception, distortion, hearing aids, hearing loss, multitalker babble, signal-to-babble ratio, speech in noise, speech perception, word recognition.

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