Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Ayasakanta Rout

Abstract

Acceptable Noise Level (ANL), is an established procedure for determining the amount of background noise a listener is willing to accept while listening to speech. ANL is established by having the listener select most amount of background noise they are willing to accept while listening to a speech stimulus presented at their most comfortable listening level (MCL). While ANLs have been established as good predictors of hearing aid use, little is known on how hearing aid users accept background noise while engaged in cognitively demanding tasks. Previous research in normal hearing listeners has demonstrated that listeners will allow the most background noise while engaged in a visual cognitive task. While it is apparent that cognitive distracters influence acceptable background noise levels in normal hearing listeners, it is unknown if this trend is present in hearing-impaired listeners. Therefore, the goal of this study is to investigate the effects of auditory and visual distracters on acceptable BNL. Acceptable BNL levels were obtained on thirteen hearing-impaired listeners in four conditions – baseline (no distraction), visual, auditory, and competing auditory-visual distraction. Results were similar to those reported with a normal hearing population, and indicated that hearing-impaired listeners were willing to accept the most background noise with visual distraction alone.

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