Objective comparative analysis of personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) in the presence of reverberation


Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf Studies


Citation of Original Publication




The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the performance of s a pair of traditional hearing aids (Oticon Nera2Pros) to a pair of high-end PSAPs (Soundworld Solutions Sidekicks) in the presence of reverberation. Three participants with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss were evaluated with each pair of amplification devices. Prior to the test session with each participant, electroacoustic analysis (EAA) was performed on each device and the results of this EAA were compared to the manufacturer's specifications to ensure proper functioning of the amplification devices. Fitting of the devices was done by the audiologist and was validated by comparing the participant's real ear measurements (REMs) to their NAL NL2 targets. Each participant then performed two speech-in-noise tests, the AzBio test and the Coordinate Response Measure (CRM) test, in quiet and in the presence of reverberation. Electroacoustic measures for both the Oticon HAs and the Sidekick PSAPs was relatively consistent with manufacturer's specifications. During REMs, the devices did a relatively good job of meeting NAL-NL2 targets for each test frequency. The only exception to this was at 4000 Hz, where both sets of devices undershot target by ~10-20 dB. Both the Oticon HAs and Sidekick PSAPs also undershot the NAL targets at most test frequencies for the third participant. Optimal fitting of both of these devices based on NAL targets could not be achieved for participant 3 as she complained that the signal was too loud at higher volume levels. Results of the AzBio speech-in-noise task revealed that as expected the participants performed substantially worse in the reverberant environment compared to the quiet environment. Results of the CRM test revealed participants performed better when the target signal and the maskers were spatially separated versus co-located. The participants performed better in the quiet environment for approximately 50% of the CRM test conditions and better in the reverberant environment for the remaining 50% of the conditions. Lastly, in general participants performed better in aided conditions (Sidekick PSAPs and Oticon HAs) versus the unaided condition. The analysis and interpretation of the results of this study are limited due to the small number of participants. Therefore, the results should be interpreted with caution and may not be representative of a larger population with mild to moderate hearing loss.