Jason Galster Ph. D., Eden Prairie, Minnesota (USA)
Video 17 2017
“Does noise tolerance predict patient preference for digital noise reduction?”
The goal of this study was to determine whether knowledge of one’s tolerance for background noise, as measured by the acceptable noise level (ANL) test, would allow the audiologist to customise noise reduction (NR) to the patient. We hypothesised that participants with high ANLs would prefer greater amounts of NR than those with low ANLs. The majority of individuals in both ANL groups preferred the most aggressive NR setting of 20 dB. This result suggests that almost all listeners, regardless of ANL, would benefit from the increased listening comfort provided by the most aggressive NR. Results from a partner field trial by Smith et al. support this recommendation in a sample of 55 research participants. Independent of noise tolerance, almost all participants preferred the maximum accessible noise reduction setting of 20 dB. These preferences were consistent across a laboratory and complementary field study from two independent research sites. Based on the results of these studies, audiologists can feel confident that a selection of the maximum NR will be preferred and benefit patients by allowing them to enjoy improved listening comfort in background noise.