Training Localization Skills
Kuk et al (2014) evaluated the effectiveness of localization training on 15 participants with mild-to-moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Participants ranged in age from 28 to 83 years and the average age was 71. Each participant was an experienced hearing aid wearer. Of the 15 participants, 5 served as controls (i.e., received no training), 5 received home-based training and then lab training, and 5 received lab training and then home-based training. Lab-training used a 12-speaker protocol and home training used 2 speakers. Kuk et al note that SNHL reduces the ability to use interaural timing differences (ITDs) and interaural loudness differences (ILDs) and importantly , simply restoring audibility does not restore localization.
The authors report that their study demonstrated “lab-based and home-based training programs improved…aided localization…(and) the improvement generalized to other acoustic stimuli…” even (up to one month) after training ended. In particular, front/back localization significantly improved with training. The authors concluded “The present study demonstrated that hearing aid wearers can be trained on their front/back localization skills using either laboratory-based or home-based training programs when they are designed to maintain the participants’ attention….”
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Beck DL, Olsen J. (2008) Extended Bandwidths in Hearing Aids. Hearing Review 15(11):22-26.
Beck DL, Sockalingham R. (2009) Audition, Cognition, Aging, and Listening Success. ENT & Audiology News 18(4):101-103.
Kuk F, Keenan DM, Lau C, Crose B, Schumacher J. (2014) Evaluation of a Localization Training Program for Hearing Impaired Listeners. Ear & Hearing 35(6):652-666.
Neher T, Behrens T, Beck DL. (2008) Spatial Hearing and Understanding Speech in Complex Environments. Hearing Review 15(12):22-25.