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Audiol. Res., Volume 12, Issue 5 (October 2022) – 11 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The aim of this study was to investigate the short- and long-term effects of sound therapy on visual attention in tinnitus patients. The study included 20 participants with chronic tinnitus and 20 control participants. All participants took part in a first session that evaluated the short-term effect of sound therapy. The tinnitus participants also took part in a second session that evaluated the long-term effect of the therapy. A reduction in tinnitus distress was found after the long-term use of the therapy. No differences were found between the tinnitus and the control group for the baseline measurement of the attention abilities. Overall, the results suggest that there is no link between the visual attention and the sound therapy’s effect on tinnitus-related distress. View this paper
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11 pages, 881 KiB  
Article
Sound Quality Factors Inducing the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
by Ryota Shimokura
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 574-584; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050056 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2408
Abstract
The acoustical characteristics of auditory triggers often recommended to generate the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) on Internet platforms were investigated by parameterizing their sound qualities following Zwicker’s procedure and calculating autocorrelation (ACF)/interaural cross-correlation (IACF) functions. For 20 triggers (10 human- and 10 [...] Read more.
The acoustical characteristics of auditory triggers often recommended to generate the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) on Internet platforms were investigated by parameterizing their sound qualities following Zwicker’s procedure and calculating autocorrelation (ACF)/interaural cross-correlation (IACF) functions. For 20 triggers (10 human- and 10 nature-generated sounds), scores (on a five-point Likert scale) of the ASMR, perceived loudness, perceived pitch, comfort, and perceived closeness to the sound image were obtained for 26 participants by questionnaire. The results show that the human-generated sounds were more likely to trigger stronger ASMR than nature-generated sounds, and the primary psychological aspect relating to the ASMR was the perceived closeness, with the triggers perceived more closely to a listener having higher ASMR scores. The perceived closeness was evaluated by the loudness and roughness (among Zwicker’s parameter) for the nature-generated sounds and the interaural cross-correlation coefficient (IACC) (among ACF/IACF parameters) for the human-generated sounds. The nature-generated sounds with higher loudness and roughness and the human-generated sounds with lower IACC were likely to evoke the ASMR sensation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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10 pages, 1842 KiB  
Brief Report
Towards Auditory Profile-Based Hearing-Aid Fittings: BEAR Rationale and Clinical Implementation
by Raul Sanchez-Lopez, Mengfan Wu, Michal Fereczkowski, Sébastien Santurette, Monika Baumann, Borys Kowalewski, Tobias Piechowiak, Nikolai Bisgaard, Gert Ravn, Sreeram Kaithali Narayanan, Torsten Dau and Tobias Neher
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 564-573; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050055 - 9 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
(1) Background: To improve hearing-aid rehabilitation, the Danish ‘Better hEAring Rehabilitation’ (BEAR) project recently developed methods for individual hearing loss characterization and hearing-aid fitting. Four auditory profiles differing in terms of audiometric hearing loss and supra-threshold hearing abilities were identified. To enable auditory [...] Read more.
(1) Background: To improve hearing-aid rehabilitation, the Danish ‘Better hEAring Rehabilitation’ (BEAR) project recently developed methods for individual hearing loss characterization and hearing-aid fitting. Four auditory profiles differing in terms of audiometric hearing loss and supra-threshold hearing abilities were identified. To enable auditory profile-based hearing-aid treatment, a fitting rationale leveraging differences in gain prescription and signal-to-noise (SNR) improvement was developed. This report describes the translation of this rationale to clinical devices supplied by three industrial partners. (2) Methods: Regarding the SNR improvement, advanced feature settings were proposed and verified based on free-field measurements made with an acoustic mannikin fitted with the different hearing aids. Regarding the gain prescription, a clinically feasible fitting tool and procedure based on real-ear gain adjustments were developed. (3) Results: Analyses of the collected real-ear gain and SNR improvement data confirmed the feasibility of the clinical implementation. Differences between the auditory profile-based fitting strategy and a current ‘best practice’ procedure based on the NAL-NL2 fitting rule were verified and are discussed in terms of limitations and future perspectives. (4) Conclusion: Based on a joint effort from academic and industrial partners, the BEAR fitting rationale was transferred to commercially available hearing aids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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25 pages, 1974 KiB  
Article
Congenital Nonprofound Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Children: Comprehensive Characterization of Auditory Function and Hearing Aid Benefit
by Erik Berninger, Maria Drott, Mircea Romanitan, Lisbeth Tranebjærg and Sten Hellström
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 539-563; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050054 - 7 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2505
Abstract
A prospective cross-sectional design was used to characterize congenital bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). The underlying material of >30,000 consecutively screened newborns comprised 11 subjects with nonprofound, alleged nonsyndromic, SNHL. Comprehensive audiological testing was performed at ≈11 years of age. Results showed symmetrical [...] Read more.
A prospective cross-sectional design was used to characterize congenital bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). The underlying material of >30,000 consecutively screened newborns comprised 11 subjects with nonprofound, alleged nonsyndromic, SNHL. Comprehensive audiological testing was performed at ≈11 years of age. Results showed symmetrical sigmoid-like median pure-tone thresholds (PTTs) reaching 50–60 dB HL. The congenital SNHL revealed recruitment, increased upward spread of masking, distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) dependent on PTT (≤60 dB HL), reduced auditory brainstem response (ABR) amplitude, and normal magnetic resonance imaging. Unaided recognition of speech in spatially separate competing speech (SCS) deteriorated with increasing uncomfortable loudness level (UCL), plausibly linked to reduced afferent signals. Most subjects demonstrated hearing aid (HA) benefit in a demanding laboratory listening situation. Questionnaires revealed HA benefit in real-world listening situations. This functional characterization should be important for the outline of clinical guidelines. The distinct relationship between DPOAE and PTT, up to the theoretical limit of cochlear amplification, and the low ABR amplitude remain to be elucidated. The significant relation between UCL and SCS has implications for HA-fitting. The fitting of HAs based on causes, mechanisms, and functional characterization of the SNHL may be an individualized intervention approach and deserves future research. Full article
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12 pages, 285 KiB  
Article
Self-Perception of Hearing Difficulties and Quality of Life in Individuals with Hearing Loss
by Adriana Neves de Andrade, Andrea Soares, Magdalena Beata Skarzynska, Piotr Henryk Skarzynski, Milaine Dominici Sanfins and Daniela Gil
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 527-538; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050053 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2308
Abstract
Objectives: To characterize the results of the Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36), Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), and the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA) questionnaires in individuals with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss and compare them with brainstem auditory [...] Read more.
Objectives: To characterize the results of the Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36), Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), and the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA) questionnaires in individuals with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss and compare them with brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs). Methods: There were 26 individuals with mild to moderate bilateral symmetrical sensorineural hearing loss who participated in the study. They were aged between 13 and 59 years old, right-hand preference, of both sexes, and were assigned to one of two groups according to the result of a BAEP test: normal (n = 16) or altered (n = 10). All subjects underwent a brief, cognitive screening battery and answered the SF-36, APHAB, and HHIA self-assessment questionnaires. For analysis of results, descriptive measures and inferential analysis were used. Results: On the SF-36 questionnaire, scores below 80 points were found in both groups, signifying minimal impact in the domains of pain, general health, vitality, and mental health compared to the other domains. The results of the APHAB questionnaire showed worse scores on the environmental noise subscale, and evaluation with the HHIA revealed a perception of severe restriction in participation in daily life activities. In a comparison between the groups, normal or abnormal BAEPs, no significant differences were found for any of the questionnaires. Conclusions: The results of the self-assessment questionnaires indicate that individuals with hearing loss can experience reduced quality of life, with limitations and restrictions for participation in daily living. The use of BAEPs as a criterion for dividing the groups was not effective in isolating the central component in the results of the self-assessment questionnaires. Full article
9 pages, 252 KiB  
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Quality of Life in Adult Cochlear Implant Users: A Survey Study
by Giada Cavallaro, Alessandra Murri, Emer Nelson, Rosaria Gorrasi and Nicola Quaranta
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 518-526; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050052 - 27 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1810
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread through Europe in the first months of 2020. On the 9th of March 2020, the Italian government ordered a national lock-down. The study’s objectives were: to investigate the effect of lockdown on CI users; and to detect [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread through Europe in the first months of 2020. On the 9th of March 2020, the Italian government ordered a national lock-down. The study’s objectives were: to investigate the effect of lockdown on CI users; and to detect the difference in the perception of discomfort existing between unilateral cochlear implant (UCI) users and bilateral cochlear implant (BCI) users, due to the lockdown experience. Methods: A 17-item, web-based, anonymous online survey was administered to 57 CI users, exploring hearing performance, emotions, practical issues, behavior, and tinnitus. Participation in the study was voluntary. Results: all CI users obtained an abnormal score in all questionnaire themes. For the emotion theme and the practical issue theme, the age range 61–90 showed a significant difference between UCI and BCI users in favor of BCI users (emotion theme: UCI mean = 3.9, BCI mean = 2.3, p = 0.0138; practical issues: UCI mean = 4, BCI mean = 3, p = 0.0031). Conclusions: CI users experienced the lockdown negatively as regards behavior, emotions, hearing performance, and in practical issues. CI subjects with UCI in old age suffered more from the experience of lockdown than subjects with BCI in the same age, with regards to emotions and practical issues. Full article
10 pages, 814 KiB  
Article
Fluctuations of Otoacoustic Emissions and Medial Olivocochlear Reflexes: Tracking One Subject over a Year
by Malgorzata Pastucha and W. Wiktor Jedrzejczak
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 508-517; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050051 - 14 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1731
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to measure the variability of transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) over a long period of time in one person. TEOAEs with and without contralateral acoustic stimulation (CAS) by white noise were [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to measure the variability of transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) over a long period of time in one person. TEOAEs with and without contralateral acoustic stimulation (CAS) by white noise were measured, from which MOCR strength could be derived as either a dB or % change. In this longitudinal case study, measurements were performed on the right and left ears of a young, normally hearing adult female once a week for 1 year. The results showed that TEOAE level and MOCR strength fluctuated over the year but tended to remain close to a baseline level, with standard deviations of around 0.5 dB and 0.05 dB, respectively. The TEOAE latencies at frequencies from 1 to 4 kHz were relatively stable, with maximum changes ranging from 0.5 ms for the 1 kHz band to 0.08 ms for the 4 kHz band. TEOAE levels and MOCR strengths were strongly and negatively correlated, meaning that the higher the TEOAE level, the lower the MOCR. Additionally, comparison of fluctuations between the ears revealed positive correlation, i.e., the higher the TEOAE level or MOCR in one ear, the higher in the second ear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Otoacoustic Emissions - 45 Years Later)
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15 pages, 1497 KiB  
Article
The Short and Long-Term Effect of Sound Therapy on Visual Attention in Chronic Tinnitus Patients
by Mie Laerkegaard Joergensen, Petteri Hyvärinen, Sueli Caporali and Torsten Dau
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 493-507; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050050 - 13 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2670
Abstract
Sound therapy is one of the most common tinnitus treatments that can be used either to mask or to shift attention away from the tinnitus percept. However, the actual benefit of sound therapy and the mechanisms leading to the benefits remain limited. The [...] Read more.
Sound therapy is one of the most common tinnitus treatments that can be used either to mask or to shift attention away from the tinnitus percept. However, the actual benefit of sound therapy and the mechanisms leading to the benefits remain limited. The objective of this study was to investigate the short-term (15 min) and long-term (2 months) effects of sound therapy on visual attention in chronic tinnitus patients. Visual attention was evaluated with the behavioral Attention Network Task, while the tinnitus-related distress was evaluated with the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) to quantify the effect of sound therapy. The study included 20 participants with chronic and bothersome tinnitus (>6 months, THI > 18) and 20 matched control participants. All participants took part in a first session consisting of a baseline condition, a short-term sound therapy condition and a silent control condition. The tinnitus participants also took part in a second session that evaluated the long-term effect of the therapy. A reduction in the tinnitus-related distress was found after the long-term use of sound therapy. Furthermore, a reduction in the differential index of the executive control (EC) attention network, indicating improved attention, was found after long-term use of sound therapy in the sound condition but not in the silent control condition. In contrast to earlier research, no differences were found between the tinnitus group and the control group for the baseline measurement of the EC attention network. Overall, the results suggest that there is no link between the visual attention networks and the sound therapy’s effect on tinnitus-related distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Brain, Hearing and Tinnitus Science)
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8 pages, 722 KiB  
Article
Battery Lifespan of an Implantable Middle Ear Device
by Luca Bruschini, Francesca Forli, Giacomo Fiacchini, Rachele Canelli, Stefano Berrettini and Francesco Lazzerini
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 485-492; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050049 - 7 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1991
Abstract
Background: The Carina system (Cochlear Ltd., Sydney, Australia) is a totally implantable device providing acoustic amplification in adult patients with moderate-to-severe sensorineural or mixed hearing loss. One of the main concerns about such a totally implantable device has been represented by the subcutaneous [...] Read more.
Background: The Carina system (Cochlear Ltd., Sydney, Australia) is a totally implantable device providing acoustic amplification in adult patients with moderate-to-severe sensorineural or mixed hearing loss. One of the main concerns about such a totally implantable device has been represented by the subcutaneous battery lifespan. The aim of this article is to report the analysis of battery performances in a series of Carina-implanted patients after a long follow up. Methods: In this retrospective study, the technical data of a series of patients implanted with the Carina middle ear implant in our clinic have been analysed, extracting the data from the log of telemetric measures. Results: The mean lifespan cutback was 0.43 h/years (from 0 to 0.71 h/year), with a strong negative significant correlation between the follow-up period and the percentage of battery residual lifespan. Conclusion: The lifespan of the Carina’s battery seems consistent with the manufacturer statement of a pluri-decennial lifespan, avoiding the need of an early surgical substitution and providing a full day of use of the system even after up to 12 years from the implantation. Full article
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9 pages, 1577 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Recovery of Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Based on Estimated Hearing Disorders
by Tadashi Nishimura, Tadao Okayasu, Chihiro Morimoto, Sakie Akasaka, Tadashi Kitahara and Hiroshi Hosoi
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 476-484; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050048 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2035
Abstract
Various prognostic factors for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) have been reported. Hearing loss directly derived from idiopathic SSNHL is important for understanding underlying pathogenesis and outcomes. We assessed the usefulness of evaluating hearing loss and recovery of idiopathic SSNHL on the [...] Read more.
Various prognostic factors for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) have been reported. Hearing loss directly derived from idiopathic SSNHL is important for understanding underlying pathogenesis and outcomes. We assessed the usefulness of evaluating hearing loss and recovery of idiopathic SSNHL on the basis of estimated hearing loss. The study included 115 patients whose characteristics and outcomes of hearing loss were investigated. The effects of vertigo/dizziness and age on hearing thresholds before/after treatment, nonaffected ear threshold, estimated hearing loss, improvement of hearing loss, and estimated remaining hearing loss were investigated. Vertigo/dizziness was a significant prognostic factor for hearing. In vertigo/dizziness patients, significantly more severe hearing loss and poorer improvement of hearing loss were observed above 500 Hz and below 1000 Hz, respectively. Severe hearing disorder remained at all frequencies. Conversely, post-treatment thresholds were significantly higher in the older population (≥65 years), although no differences in pretreatment thresholds were observed between the younger (≤64 years) and older populations. However, on the basis of nonaffected ear thresholds, previously existing hearing loss could have influenced the outcome. Thus, comparison of hearing outcomes between affected and nonaffected ears is essential for understanding hearing loss and outcomes in idiopathic SSNHL cases with existing hearing disorder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Treatment of Hearing Loss)
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10 pages, 1543 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Pluronic-Coated Gold Nanoparticles in Hearing Preservation Following Cochlear Implantation-Pilot Study
by Cristina Maria Blebea, Violeta Necula, Monica Potara, Maximilian George Dindelegan, Laszlo Peter Ujvary, Emil Claudiu Botan, Alma Aurelia Maniu and Marcel Cosgarea
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 466-475; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050047 - 28 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2301
Abstract
Introduction: During cochlear implantation, electrode insertion can cause cochlear damage, inflammation, and apoptosis, which can affect the residual hearing. Nanoparticles are increasingly studied as a way to increase the availability of inner ear protective factors. We studied the effect on rats of Pluronic-coated [...] Read more.
Introduction: During cochlear implantation, electrode insertion can cause cochlear damage, inflammation, and apoptosis, which can affect the residual hearing. Nanoparticles are increasingly studied as a way to increase the availability of inner ear protective factors. We studied the effect on rats of Pluronic-coated gold nanoparticles (Plu-AuNPs) containing dexamethasone, which were applied locally in the rat’s middle ear following the implant procedure. Methods: Seven rats were used in the study. The right ear served as a model for the Dex-Plu-AuNP group. Following the intracochlear dummy electrode insertion through the round window, Dex-Plu-AuNPs were placed in the round window niche. In the right ear, following the same insertion procedure, free dexamethasone (Dex) was placed in the same manner. Auditory brainstem response thresholds (click stimulus, pure tones at 8 kHz, 16 kHz, 24 kHz, and 32 kHz) were measured before and one week after the procedure. A two-tailed T-test was used for the variables. Statistical significance was set as p < 0.05. Results: In the Dex-Plu-AuNP group, the threshold shift was less than that in the free dexamethasone group, but no statistical significance was noted between the groups. When compared individually, only the 8 kHz frequency showed statistically significant, better results after one week, in favor of the Dex-Plu-AuNP group. The mean postoperative 8 kHz threshold in the Dex-Plu-AuNPs was significantly lower than that of the control group (p = 0.048, t-test). For the other frequencies, statistical analysis showed no significant differences between the mean threshold shifts of the two cohorts. Conclusions: The local application of Plu-AuNPs containing dexamethasone following cochlear implantation may better protect the residual hearing than dexamethasone alone, but a larger sample size is needed to reach a possible statistical significance. Dex-Plu-AuNPs do not seem to cause ototoxicity and may be used as a carrier for other agents. In a clinical setting, Dex-Plu-AuNPs may have the effect of protecting lower frequencies in patients with partial deafness who are candidates for electric acoustic stimulation (EAS). If we consider this tendency, Dex-Plu-AuNPs may also be beneficial for patients with Ménière’s disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translational Research in Audiology)
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9 pages, 806 KiB  
Article
A Single Fast Test for Semicircular Canal Dehiscence—oVEMP n10 to 4000 Hz—Depends on Stimulus Rise Time
by Ian S. Curthoys, Ann M. Burgess, Leonardo Manzari and Christopher J. Pastras
Audiol. Res. 2022, 12(5), 457-465; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres12050046 - 24 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2506
Abstract
As previously reported, a single test measuring oVEMP n10 to 4000 Hz stimuli (bone-conducted vibration (BCV) or air-conducted sound (ACS)) provides a definitive diagnosis of semicircular canal dehiscence (SCD) in 22 CT-verified patients, with a sensitivity of 1.0 and specificity of 1.0. This [...] Read more.
As previously reported, a single test measuring oVEMP n10 to 4000 Hz stimuli (bone-conducted vibration (BCV) or air-conducted sound (ACS)) provides a definitive diagnosis of semicircular canal dehiscence (SCD) in 22 CT-verified patients, with a sensitivity of 1.0 and specificity of 1.0. This single short screening test has great advantages of speed, minimizing testing time, and the exposure of patients to stimulation. However, a few studies of the 4000 Hz test for SCD have reported sensitivity and specificity values which are slightly less than reported previously. We hypothesized that the rise time of the stimulus is important for detecting the oVEMP n10 to 4000 Hz, similarly to what we had shown for 500 and 750 Hz BCV. We measured oVEMP n10 in 15 patients with CT-verified SCD in response to 4000 Hz ACS or BCV stimuli with rise times of 0, 1, and 2 ms. As a result, increasing the rise time of the stimulus reduced the oVEMP n10 amplitude. This outcome is expected from the physiological evidence of guinea pig primary vestibular afferents, which are activated by sound or vibration. Therefore, for clinical VEMP testing, short rise times are optimal (preferably 0 ms). Full article
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