Advances in technology have greatly improved the effectiveness of hearing aids. Despite these improvements, listening to speech in noisy situations still proves difficult for those with a hearing loss – even with the help of a hearing aid.
Researchers from The University of Nottingham are looking for hearing aid users aged 18-40 to complete a series of hearing tests in order to provide a greater understanding of what listening to speech in a noisy environment is like.
The study looks to investigate if the way people speak is related to how they understand the speech of others. This information will be used to create interventions to improve the understanding of speech in noisy environments.
Never been explored before
PhD student Rachel Haines is leading the research at National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit. She said: “New research suggests that a person’s ability to understand speech and to produce speech is related. This has never been explored before in relation to thinking about the strategies people adopt to understand speech in noise. We think looking at this link could be a really exciting avenue to explore, potentially leading to intervention strategies.”
Understanding speech in noisy backgrounds isn’t just a problem that effects people with a diagnosed hearing loss; children and older adults also have more difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations than normal-hearing young adults.
Rachel said: “The results we gather from the young adults with a hearing loss will be compared to those of children, young adults with normal hearing, and older adults aged 60+ who performed the same task.
“We will investigate how the relationship between perceiving and producing certain speech cues develops across the lifespan and how it is affected by hearing loss. Ultimately, we would like our research to be able to provide benefit to the social and professional or academic lives of anyone who feels effected by listening to speech in noisy conditions.”
Hearing aid users aged 18-40
The appeal for volunteers is being especially targeted at young adult hearing aid users aged 18-40 as this group has been challenging for the researchers to recruit.
Participants will be invited to visit the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit at Ropewalk House in Nottingham city centre at a time of their choosing. If you would like to take part in the study or for more information, contact Rachel Haines on 0115 823 2600 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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