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Audiol. Res., Volume 11, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 15 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): When the transducer is placed on the aural cartilage, particularly on the tragus, a relatively loud sound is audible. This form of conduction is referred to as cartilage conduction (CC). In CC, the aural cartilage functions similar to the movable plate of a vibration speaker, and thus the signal in the ear canal increases in amplitude compared to when the transducer is unattached to the aural cartilage. This transduction mechanism, unique from air and bone conductions, is responsible for the CC characteristics. In terms of clinical applications, CC hearing aids are a good option for patients with aural atresia. The advantages of CC, namely, comfort, stable fixation, esthetics, and non-invasiveness, facilitate its clinical use. View this paper.
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Article
Sport as a Factor in Improving Visual Spatial Cognitive Deficits in Patients with Hearing Loss and Chronic Vestibular Deficit
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 291-300; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020027 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1063
Abstract
Hearing loss and chronic vestibular pathologies require brain adaptive mechanisms supported by a cross-modal cortical plasticity. They are often accompanied by cognitive deficits. Spatial memory is a cognitive process responsible for recording information about the spatial environment and spatial orientation. Visual-spatial working memory [...] Read more.
Hearing loss and chronic vestibular pathologies require brain adaptive mechanisms supported by a cross-modal cortical plasticity. They are often accompanied by cognitive deficits. Spatial memory is a cognitive process responsible for recording information about the spatial environment and spatial orientation. Visual-spatial working memory (VSWM) is a kind of short-term working memory that allows spatial information to be temporarily stored and manipulated. It can be conditioned by hearing loss and also well-compensated chronic vestibular deficit. Vestibular rehabilitation and hearing aid devices or training are able to improve the VSWM. We studied 119 subjects suffering from perinatal or congenital hearing loss, compared with 532 healthy subjects and 404 patients with well-compensated chronic vestibular deficit (CVF). VSWM was evaluated by the eCorsi test. The subjects suffering from chronic hearing loss and/or unilateral or bilateral vestibular deficit showed a VSWM less efficient than healthy people, but much better than those with CVF, suggesting a better multimodal adaptive strategy, probably favored by a cross-modal plasticity which also provides habitual use of lip reading. The sport activity cancels the difference with healthy subjects. It is therefore evident that patients with this type of deficit since childhood should be supported and advised on a sport activity or repeated vestibular stimulation. Full article
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Article
Benefits of Cartilage Conduction Hearing Aids for Speech Perception in Unilateral Aural Atresia
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 284-290; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020026 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
Severe conductive hearing loss due to unilateral aural atresia leads to auditory and developmental disorders, such as difficulty in hearing in challenging situations. Bone conduction devices compensate for the disability but unfortunately have several disadvantages. The aim of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Severe conductive hearing loss due to unilateral aural atresia leads to auditory and developmental disorders, such as difficulty in hearing in challenging situations. Bone conduction devices compensate for the disability but unfortunately have several disadvantages. The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefits of cartilage conduction (CC) hearing aids for speech perception in unilateral aural atresia. Eleven patients with unilateral aural atresia were included. Each participant used a CC hearing aid in the atretic ear. Speech recognition scores in the binaural hearing condition were obtained at low speech levels to evaluate the contribution of aided atretic ears to speech perception. Speech recognition scores were also obtained with and without presentation of noise. These assessments were compared between the unaided and aided atretic ear conditions. Speech recognition scores at low speech levels were significantly improved under the aided atretic ear condition (p < 0.05). A CC hearing aid in the unilateral atretic ear did not significantly improve the speech recognition score in a symmetrical noise presentation condition. The binaural hearing benefits of CC hearing aids in unilateral aural atresia were predominantly considered a diotic summation. Other benefits of binaural hearing remain to be investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone and Cartilage Conduction)
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Article
Hearing Screening among First-Grade Children in Rural Areas and Small Towns in Małopolskie Voivodeship, Poland
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 275-283; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020025 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Undiagnosed hearing deficits hamper a child’s ability to learn. Hearing screening in school aged children helps detect educationally significant hearing loss and prevents negative impacts on academic achievement. The main purpose of this study was to improve early detection and assess the incidence [...] Read more.
Undiagnosed hearing deficits hamper a child’s ability to learn. Hearing screening in school aged children helps detect educationally significant hearing loss and prevents negative impacts on academic achievement. The main purpose of this study was to improve early detection and assess the incidence of hearing disorders in first-graders from rural areas and small towns in the Małopolskie Voivodeship of Poland. There were 5029 children aged 6–7 years. Hearing thresholds were measured over the frequency range 0.5–8 kHz. A result was considered positive (abnormal) if the hearing threshold was worse than 20 dB HL at one or more frequencies. The prevalence of hearing loss was estimated in terms of four-frequency hearing loss, high-frequency hearing loss, and low-frequency hearing loss. Parents filled in a brief audiological questionnaire. The analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics, version 24. Of all the children, 20.5% returned a positive result and were referred for further audiological diagnoses. The estimated prevalence of hearing loss was 11.6%, made up of 6.5% with FFHL, 7.6% with HFHL, and 8.2% with LFHL. This study showed that large numbers of children in the district had hearing problems. Adoption of hearing screening in primary schools is recommended as a routine procedure within preventive pediatric health care. Full article
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Article
Management of Residual Hearing with Cartilage Conduction Hearing Aid after Lateral Temporal Bone Resection: Our Institutional Experience
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 263-274; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020024 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Background: There is no guideline for hearing compensation after temporal bone resection. This study aimed to retrospectively analyze surgical cases with reconstruction for hearing preservation after temporal bone malignancy resection and propose a new alternative to compensate for hearing loss. Methods: We retrospectively [...] Read more.
Background: There is no guideline for hearing compensation after temporal bone resection. This study aimed to retrospectively analyze surgical cases with reconstruction for hearing preservation after temporal bone malignancy resection and propose a new alternative to compensate for hearing loss. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 30 patients who underwent lateral temporal bone surgery for temporal bone malignancy at our institution and examined their hearing abilities after surgery. Result: The hearing outcomes of patients with an external auditory meatus reconstruction varied widely. The mean postoperative air–bone gap at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz ranged from 22.5 dB to 71.25 dB. On the other hand, the average difference between the aided sound field thresholds with cartilage conduction hearing aid and bone conduction thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz ranged from −3.75 to 41.25. More closely located auricular cartilage and temporal bone resulted in smaller differences between the aided sound field and bone conduction thresholds. Conclusions: There is still room for improvement of surgical techniques for reconstruction of the auditory meatus to preserve hearing after temporal bone resection. The cartilage conduction hearing aid may provide non-invasive postoperative hearing compensation after lateral temporal bone resection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone and Cartilage Conduction)
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Review
Cartilage Conduction Hearing and Its Clinical Application
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 254-262; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020023 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Cartilage conduction (CC) is a form of conduction that allows a relatively loud sound to be audible when a transducer is placed on the aural cartilage. The CC transmission mechanism has gradually been elucidated, allowing for the development of CC hearing aids (CC-HAs), [...] Read more.
Cartilage conduction (CC) is a form of conduction that allows a relatively loud sound to be audible when a transducer is placed on the aural cartilage. The CC transmission mechanism has gradually been elucidated, allowing for the development of CC hearing aids (CC-HAs), which are clinically available in Japan. However, CC is still not fully understood. This review summarizes previous CC reports to facilitate its understanding. Concerning the transmission mechanism, the sound pressure level in the ear canal was found to increase when the transducer was attached to the aural cartilage, compared to an unattached condition. Further, inserting an earplug and injecting water into the ear canal shifted the CC threshold, indicating the considerable influence of cartilage–air conduction on the transmission. In CC, the aural cartilage resembles the movable plate of a vibration speaker. This unique transduction mechanism is responsible for the CC characteristics. In terms of clinical applications, CC-HAs are a good option for patients with aural atresia, despite inferior signal transmission compared to bone conduction in bony atretic ears. The advantages of CC, namely comfort, stable fixation, esthetics, and non-invasiveness, facilitate its clinical use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone and Cartilage Conduction)
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Review
Perception Mechanism of Bone-Conducted Ultrasound and Its Clinical Use
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 244-253; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020022 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1236
Abstract
It is generally believed that ultrasound cannot be heard. However, ultrasound is audible when it is presented through bone conduction. Bone-conducted ultrasound (BCU) has unique characteristics; the most interesting is its perception in patients with profound deafness. Some patients can perceive it and [...] Read more.
It is generally believed that ultrasound cannot be heard. However, ultrasound is audible when it is presented through bone conduction. Bone-conducted ultrasound (BCU) has unique characteristics; the most interesting is its perception in patients with profound deafness. Some patients can perceive it and discriminate speech-modulated BCU. Previous reports have suggested that BCU can be used for a hearing aid or tinnitus sound therapy. In this review, the perception of BCU at both the peripheral and central levels was investigated based on previous studies, although some of them remain controversial. We also investigated the clinical use of BCU. To develop hearing aids utilizing BCU, the encoding of speech signals into BCU has to be established. The outcomes of the reported speech modulations were evaluated. Furthermore, the suppression of tinnitus by BCU was reviewed, and the feasibility of the application of BCU to tinnitus treatment was investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone and Cartilage Conduction)
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Article
Effect of Auditory Distraction on Working Memory, Attention Switching, and Listening Comprehension
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 227-243; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020021 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 1439
Abstract
The effect of non-informational speech spectrum noise as a distractor on cognitive and listening comprehension ability was examined in fifty-three young, normal hearing adults. Time-controlled tasks were used to measure auditory working memory (WM) capacity and attention switching (AS) ability. Listening comprehension was [...] Read more.
The effect of non-informational speech spectrum noise as a distractor on cognitive and listening comprehension ability was examined in fifty-three young, normal hearing adults. Time-controlled tasks were used to measure auditory working memory (WM) capacity and attention switching (AS) ability. Listening comprehension was measured using a lecture, interview, and spoken narratives test. Noise level was individually set to achieve at least 90% or higher speech intelligibility. Participants’ listening comprehension in the presence of distracting noise was better on inference questions compared to listening in quiet. Their speed of information processing was also significantly faster in WM and AS tasks in noise. These results were consistent with the view that noise may enhance arousal levels leading to faster information processing during cognitive tasks. Whereas the speed of AS was faster in noise, this rapid switching of attention resulted in more errors in updating items. Participants who processed information faster in noise and did so accurately, more effectively switched their attention to refresh/rehearse recall items within WM. More efficient processing deployed in the presence of noise appeared to have led to improvements in WM performance and making inferences in a listening comprehension task. Additional research is required to examine these findings using background noise that can cause informational masking. Full article
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Systematic Review
Meta-Analysis—Correlation between Spiral Ganglion Cell Counts and Speech Perception with a Cochlear Implant
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 220-226; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020020 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1703
Abstract
The presence of spiral ganglion cells (SGCs) is widely accepted to be a prerequisite for successful speech perception with a cochlear implant (CI), because SGCs provide the only known conduit between the implant electrode and the central auditory system. By extension, it has [...] Read more.
The presence of spiral ganglion cells (SGCs) is widely accepted to be a prerequisite for successful speech perception with a cochlear implant (CI), because SGCs provide the only known conduit between the implant electrode and the central auditory system. By extension, it has been hypothesized that the number of SGCs might be an important factor in CI outcomes. An impressive body of work has been published on findings from the laborious process of collecting temporal bones from CI users and counting the number of SGCs to correlate those numbers with speech perception scores, but the findings thus far have been conflicting. We performed a meta-analysis of all published studies with the hope that combining existing data may help us reach a more definitive conclusion about the relationship between SGC count and speech perception scores in adults. Full article
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Review
Review of Bone Conduction Hearing Devices
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 207-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020019 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1506
Abstract
Bone conduction is an efficient pathway of sound transmission which can be harnessed to provide hearing amplification. Bone conduction hearing devices may be indicated when ear canal pathology precludes the use of a conventional hearing aid, as well as in cases of single-sided [...] Read more.
Bone conduction is an efficient pathway of sound transmission which can be harnessed to provide hearing amplification. Bone conduction hearing devices may be indicated when ear canal pathology precludes the use of a conventional hearing aid, as well as in cases of single-sided deafness. Several different technologies exist which transmit sound via bone conduction. Here, we will review the physiology of bone conduction, the indications for bone conduction amplification, and the specifics of currently available devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone and Cartilage Conduction)
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Article
Integrated Bimodal Fitting for Unilateral CI Users with Residual Contralateral Hearing
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 200-206; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020018 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1365
Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to compare, in users of bimodal cochlear implants, the performance obtained using their own hearing aids (adjusted with the standard NAL-NL1 fitting formula) with the performance using the Phonak Naìda Link Ultra Power hearing aid adjusted [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of this study was to compare, in users of bimodal cochlear implants, the performance obtained using their own hearing aids (adjusted with the standard NAL-NL1 fitting formula) with the performance using the Phonak Naìda Link Ultra Power hearing aid adjusted with both NAL-NL1 and a new bimodal system (Adaptive Phonak Digital Bimodal (APDB)) developed by Advanced Bionics and Phonak Corporations. Methods: Eleven bimodal users (Naìda CI Q70 + contralateral hearing aid) were enrolled in our study. The users’ own hearing aids were replaced with the Phonak Naìda Link Ultra Power and fitted following the new formula. Speech intelligibility was assessed in quiet and noisy conditions, and comparisons were made with the results obtained with the users’ previous hearing aids and with the Naída Link hearing aids fitted with the NAL-NL1 generic prescription formula. Results: Using Phonak Naìda Link Ultra Power hearing aids with the Adaptive Phonak Digital Bimodal fitting formula, performance was significantly better than that with the users’ own rehabilitation systems, especially in challenging hearing situations for all analyzed subjects. Conclusions: Speech intelligibility tests in quiet settings did not reveal a significant difference in performance between the new fitting formula and NAL-NL1 fittings (using the Naída Link hearing aids), whereas the performance difference between the two fittings was very significant in noisy test conditions. Full article
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Article
Hearing Loss in Children: Clinical-Epidemiological Data from Two Different Provinces of the Same Region
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 192-199; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020017 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
Background: In many countries, neonatal hearing screening programs (NHS) have been available for many years; however, because of the presence of hearing loss at late onset, early hearing detection programs (EHDP) have been implemented. The aim of this study was to evaluate all [...] Read more.
Background: In many countries, neonatal hearing screening programs (NHS) have been available for many years; however, because of the presence of hearing loss at late onset, early hearing detection programs (EHDP) have been implemented. The aim of this study was to evaluate all cases of infantile hearing loss under the care of two different provinces of a regional health service since the introduction of NHS. Methods: Clinical data (the presence of audiological risk factors, age at which children are placed under the care of health service, entity of hearing loss, treatment, and exposure to bilingualism) were retrospectively collected during the period from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2018, starting from the IT management system used in all of the regional neuropsychiatric services. Results: In total, 124 children were included—116 cases failed the screening, 1 case had an untraceable result, and 7 cases (5.6%) had hearing screening that passed. Most of the children were placed under the care of a neuropsychiatric infantile and adolescence (NPIA) service within the first year of life. The main differences across the two provinces concerned the percentages of audiological risk factors and the number of unilateral hearing loss cases. Conclusion: In order to plan and manage hearing rehabilitation programs for children in the best way, it is very important to know the local clinical-epidemiological features of the population. Full article
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Article
Adult Users of the Oticon Medical Neuro Cochlear Implant System Benefit from Beamforming in the High Frequencies
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 179-191; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020016 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1525
Abstract
The Oticon Medical Neuro cochlear implant system includes the modes Opti Omni and Speech Omni, the latter providing beamforming (i.e., directional selectivity) in the high frequencies. Two studies compared sentence identification scores of adult cochlear implant users with Opti Omni and Speech Omni. [...] Read more.
The Oticon Medical Neuro cochlear implant system includes the modes Opti Omni and Speech Omni, the latter providing beamforming (i.e., directional selectivity) in the high frequencies. Two studies compared sentence identification scores of adult cochlear implant users with Opti Omni and Speech Omni. In Study 1, a double-blind longitudinal crossover study, 12 new users trialed Opti Omni or Speech Omni (random allocation) for three months, and their sentence identification in quiet and noise (+10 dB signal-to-noise ratio) with the trialed mode were measured. The same procedure was repeated for the second mode. In Study 2, a single-blind study, 11 experienced users performed a speech identification task in quiet and at relative signal-to-noise ratios ranging from −3 to +18 dB with Opti Omni and Speech Omni. The Study 1 scores in quiet and in noise were significantly better with Speech Omni than with Opti Omni. Study 2 scores were significantly better with Speech Omni than with Opti Omni at +6 and +9 dB signal-to-noise ratios. Beamforming in the high frequencies, as implemented in Speech Omni, leads to improved speech identification in medium levels of background noise, where cochlear implant users spend most of their day. Full article
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Article
Clinical and Electromyographic Assessment of Swallowing in Individuals with Functional Dysphonia Associated with Dysphagia Due to Muscle Tension or Atypical Swallowing
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 167-178; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020015 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Introduction: Over the past few years, attention has been paid to the coexistence of dysphonia with dysphagia, in the context of functional disorders. The aim of this work was to objectify logopaedic examination of dysphonic patients with coexisting swallowing difficulties by surface electromyography. [...] Read more.
Introduction: Over the past few years, attention has been paid to the coexistence of dysphonia with dysphagia, in the context of functional disorders. The aim of this work was to objectify logopaedic examination of dysphonic patients with coexisting swallowing difficulties by surface electromyography. Methods: The material of the work included 58 patients with muscle tension dysphonia (MTD). Each patient underwent otolaryngologic, phoniatric and logopaedic examination. We collected information about medical history and asked patients to fill out Reflux Symptom Index (RSI), Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10), Dysphagia Handicap Index (DHI) and Swallowing Disorder Scale (SDS). The algorithm of dysphagia diagnostics in our clinic assumes parallel surface electromyography (SEMG) during Functional Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. Results: In comparison to patients suffering from atypical swallowing, patients with muscle tension dysphagia (MTDg) obtained higher values from almost all questionnaires. Logopaedic evaluation revealed abnormalities in the structure and efficiency of the articulatory organs and in the assessment of primary functions. Patients with more abnormalities in logopaedic examination had significantly higher infrahyoid muscle activity during swallowing observed in EMG. Patients with non-normative swallowing pattern had significantly greater asymmetry of the average and maximum amplitude of masseters, as well as submental muscles. Patients with higher percent of muscles asymmetry gained higher scores in questionnaires. Conclusions: Surface electromyography objectifies logopaedic examination of patients with swallowing difficulties. The results of this work showed that, apart from longer swallows, patients with MTDg differ from patients with non-normative swallowing patterns in the muscle activity measured by SEMG, abnormalities in logopaedic evaluation and the severity of complaints reported by patients. Full article
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Article
The Development of a Paediatric Phoneme Discrimination Test for Arabic Phonemic Contrasts
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 150-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020014 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Objective: The aim of this project was to develop the Arabic CAPT (A-CAPT), a Standard Arabic version of the CHEAR auditory perception test (CAPT) that assesses consonant perception ability in children. Method: This closed-set test was evaluated with normal-hearing children aged 5 to [...] Read more.
Objective: The aim of this project was to develop the Arabic CAPT (A-CAPT), a Standard Arabic version of the CHEAR auditory perception test (CAPT) that assesses consonant perception ability in children. Method: This closed-set test was evaluated with normal-hearing children aged 5 to 11 years. Development and validation of the speech materials were accomplished in two experimental phases. Twenty-six children participated in phase I, where the test materials were piloted to ensure that the selected words were age appropriate and that the form of Arabic used was familiar to the children. Sixteen children participated in phase II where test–retest reliability, age effects, and critical differences were measured. A computerized implementation was used to present stimuli and collect responses. Children selected one of four response options displayed on a screen for each trial. Results: Two lists of 32 words were developed with two levels of difficulty, easy and hard. Assessment of test–retest reliability for the final version of the lists showed a strong agreement. A within-subject ANOVA showed no significant difference between test and retest sessions. Performance improved with increasing age. Critical difference values were similar to the British English version of the CAPT. Conclusions: The A-CAPT is an appropriate speech perception test for assessing Arabic-speaking children as young as 5 years old. This test can reliably assess consonant perception ability and monitor changes over time or after an intervention. Full article
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Article
Interactions between Cognition and Hearing Aid Compression Release Time: Effects of Linguistic Context of Speech Test Materials on Speech-in-Noise Performance
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(2), 129-149; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres11020013 - 02 Apr 2021
Viewed by 775
Abstract
Recent research has established a connection between hearing aid (HA) users’ cognition and speech recognition performance with short and long compression release times (RT). Contradictive findings prevent researchers from using cognition to predict RT prescription. We hypothesized that the linguistic context of speech [...] Read more.
Recent research has established a connection between hearing aid (HA) users’ cognition and speech recognition performance with short and long compression release times (RT). Contradictive findings prevent researchers from using cognition to predict RT prescription. We hypothesized that the linguistic context of speech recognition test materials was one of the factors that accounted for the inconsistency. The present study was designed to examine the relationship between HA users’ cognition and their aided speech recognition performance with short and long RTs using materials with various linguistic contexts. Thirty-four older HA users’ cognitive abilities were quantified using a reading span test. They were fitted with behind-the-ear style HAs with adjustable RT settings. Three speech recognition tests were used: the word-in-noise (WIN) test, the American four alternative auditory feature (AFAAF) test, and the Bamford-Kowal-Bench speech-in-noise (BKB-SIN) test. The results showed that HA users with high cognitive abilities performed better on the AFAAF and the BKB-SIN than those with low cognitive abilities when using short RT. None of the speech recognition tests produced significantly different performance between the two RTs for either cognitive group. These findings did not support our hypothesis. The results suggest that cognition might not be important in prescribing RT. Full article
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