This study examined the interaction of hearing protection for noise reduction and hearing loss with speech recognition performance. Forty five subjects with four hearing loss profiles were fitted with two different level dependent hearing protectors (circumaural and inserts) in two different military noises. Each protector was tested under passive and electronic filtering. Passive protection resulted in the greatest reduction in speech recognition for the hearing impaired users but little effect for normal hearers. Circumaural devices resulted in better frontal speech recognition due to microphone placement but electronic filtering of noise resulted in better speech recognition for the hearing impaired subjects. This study has important implications in documenting that hearing impaired subjects will not understand speech as well in noisy environments but that electronic filtering helps to preserve speech recognition ability.

The interaction of hearing loss and level-dependent hearing protection on speech recognition in noise.
Giguere C, Laroche L, Vaillant V.
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Richard Navarro

Grapevine, USA.

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