Digital Noise Reduction, Pediatrics, and Speech Perception
For more than a decade, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that digital noise reduction (DNR) facilitates a more comfortable listening experience for people wearing hearing aids. In 2010, Stelmachowicz et al reported DNR did not have a deleterious effect on the overall perception of nonsense syllables, words, or sentences in children (from ages 5 to 10 years) even in signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) as challenging as 0 dB.
Pittman (2011) examined word learning rates with regard to children with normal hearing (n = 41) and children with hearing loss (n = 26) in quiet and noisy backgrounds and she examined the effect of DNR across children with hearing loss. Children were also grouped into younger (ages 8 and 9 years) and older (ages 11 and 12 years) groups. Pittman reports mild-moderate degrees of hearing loss appear to delay vocabulary development, whereas severe and profound hearing loss appear to impair vocabulary development. Pittman reviewed the contemporary literature with regard to adults and DNR and reports “research has shown that speech perception in noise and speech reception thresholds with DNR are well preserved in adults.” With regard to children, Pittman reports that younger children with hearing loss demonstrated significantly reduced word learning rates in noise and their speech perception was the same in quiet and in noise with and without DNR. However, for the older children, listening with DNR engaged was beneficial and DNR contributed significantly to word learning for the older children.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Pittman A. (2011) Age-Related Benefits of Digital Noise reduction for Short-Term Word Learning in Children With Hearing Loss. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 54 (October):1448-1463.
Schum DJ, Beck DL. (2006) Noise Reduction in Advanced Technology Hearing Aids
Stelmachowicz P, Lewis D, Hoover B, Nishi K, McCreery R, Woods W. (2010) Effects of Digital Noise Reduction on Speech Perception for Children with Hearing Loss. Ear & Hearing 31(3):345-355