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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 4, July/August 2006
Pages 517 — 536


Abstract - Acclimatization in wide dynamic range multichannel compression and linear amplification hearing aids

E. William Yund, PhD;1* Christina M. Roup, PhD;1 Helen J. Simon, PhD;2 Glen A. Bowman, BA1

1Sensorineural Hearing Loss Research Laboratory, Department of Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, Martinez, CA; 2The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA
Abstract — Acclimatization was studied in hearing-impaired patients with no previous hearing aid (HA) experience who were fit bilaterally with either wide dynamic range multichannel compression (WDRMCC) or linear amplification (LA) HAs. Throughout 40 weeks of normal HA use, we monitored changes in nonsense syllable perception in speech-spectrum noise. Syllable recognition for WDRMCC users improved by 4.6% over the first 8 weeks, but the 2.2% improvement for LA users was complete in 2 to 4 weeks. Consonant confusion analyses indicated that WDRMCC experience facilitated consonant identification, while LA users primarily changed their response biases. Furthermore, WDRMCC users showed greater improvement for aided than unaided stimuli, while LA users did not. These results demonstrate acclimatization in new users of WDRMCC HAs but not in new users of LA HAs. A switch in amplification type after 32 weeks produced minimal performance change. Thus, acclimatization depended on the type of amplification and the previous amplification experience.
Key words: acclimatization, hearing aid, hearing aid experience, hearing impairment, hearing loss, linear amplification, rehabilitation, speech cues, speech perception, syllable recognition, wide dynamic range multichannel compression.

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