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Comfortable loudness levels for speech: effects of signal-to-noise ratios and instructions.

Authors
  • Beattie, R C
  • Himes, B E
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of auditory research
Publication Date
Jul 01, 1984
Volume
24
Issue
3
Pages
213–229
Identifiers
PMID: 6545540
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The effect of S/N from +20 to -10 db on loudness levels of connected discourse with or without background cafeteria noise was investigated for one set of instructions sampling the most comfortable loudness level (MCLL) and a second set sampling the upper limit of CLL. Normal young adults (N:16) showed no significant differences for either set of instructions in quiet or from 20 to 0 db S/N but mn MCLL was about 5 db lower at -10 db. Elderly hearing-aid wearers (N:10, mn age: 77 yrs) yielded mn differences across S/N of less than 5 db for either set of instructions. No data indicate that the speech CLL accurately predicts optimal hearing-aid gain, while the literature indicates that occasionally the desired maximum intelligibility frequently is not obtained at the MCLL. We question whether MCLL for speech justifies its measurement. A discussion is presented of the Comfort Level Method of adjusting gain in hearing-aid evaluations and a perhaps preferable Threshold Level Method in which the test stimulus is presented at a level corresponding to the predicted threshold and the aid's volume control is adjusted until S just perceives the signal.

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