Speech-in-Noise Training Works!
Song et al (2012) investigated biological mechanisms associated with listening-in-noise using a control (no-training) and experimental (training) group. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) was recorded to speech sounds presented in quiet and noise. Subjects included 60 adults ages 19 to 35 years, approximately two-thirds were female. Training was accomplished via the listening and communication enhancement (LACE) protocol (Sweetow and Sabes, 2006). The QuickSIN (Killion et al 2004) and HINT (Nilsson, 1994) were among the tools used to evaluate perceptual abilities.
The authors concluded that "naturalistic training" that combines sensory and cognitive elements can enhance the central nervous system’s ability to encode acoustic cues, based on their empirical findings. Song et al report "…LACE training generalizes to standardized clinically utilized measures of speech-in-noise perception—a critical factor if (auditory) training is to have an impact on real-world listening."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Killion MC, Niquette PA, Gudmundsen GI, Revit LJ, Banerjee S. (2004) Development of a Quick Speech In Noise Test for Measuring Signal-To-Noise Ratio Loss in Normal Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 116:2395-2405.
Nilsson M, Soli S, Sullivan JA. (1994) Development of the Hearing in Noise Test for the Measurement of Speech Reception Thresholds in Quiet and in Noise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 95:1085-1099.
Song JH, Skow E, Banai K, Krasu N. (2012) Training to Improve Hearing Speech in Noise—Biological Mechanisms. Cerebral Cortex 22(5):1180-1190.
Sweetow RW, Sabes JH. (2006) The Need for and Development of an Adaptive Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) Program. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 17:538-558.