Auditory Training Schedules: What Is the Best Strategy?
Are the outcomes of an auditory training (AT) program better if the training is intensive and done close together in time (i.e., massed) or spread apart (i.e., spaced)? Tye-Murray et al (2017) attempted to answer this question.
Study participants were adults with sensorineural hearing loss who used hearing aids and who had not participated in an AT program in the previous six months prior to study participation. Twenty-four of these participants were assigned to the massed AT group and 23 were assigned to the spaced AT group. The massed AT group completed two hours of training each day, five days per week over a two-week period; whereas the spaced AT group completed one hour of training each day, two days per week over a 10-week period. Both groups received 20 hours of training using the same materials.
Post AT outcomes were assessed immediately after training and again three-months later. There were two types of outcome measures—one that used materials similar to those used in the AT program and one that was designed to assess generalizability to non-trained tasks and materials.
These authors found that both training paradigms showed a significant improvement in performance on all post AT outcome measures compared to pre AT assessment measures. There was not a significant effect for the training approach or an interaction effect (training approach x time). This finding may suggest that the spacing between AT session does not have an impact on the outcome.
Tye-Murray N, Spehar B, Barcroft J, Sommer M. (2017) Auditory training for adults who have hearing loss: a comparison of spaced versus massed practice schedules. J Speech Lang Hear Res, 60: 2337-2345.