Paired comparisons of nonlinear frequency compression, extended bandwidth, and restricted bandwidth hearing aid processing for children and adults with hearing loss

Marc A Brennan, Ryan W McCreery, Judy Kopun, Brenda Hoover, Joshua Alexander, Dawna E Lewis, Patricia G. Stelmachowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Background: Preference for speech and music processed with nonlinear frequency compression (NFC) and two controls (restricted bandwidth [RBW] and extended bandwidth [EBW] hearing aid processing) was examined in adults and children with hearing loss.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if stimulus type (music, sentences), age (children, adults), and degree of hearing loss influence listener preference for NFC, RBW, and EBW.

Research Design: Design was a within-participant, quasi-experimental study. Using a round-robin procedure, participants listened to amplified stimuli that were (1) frequency lowered using NFC, (2) low-pass filtered at 5 kHz to simulate theRBWof conventional hearing aid processing, or (3) low-pass filtered at 11 kHz to simulateEBWamplification. The examiner and participants were blinded to the type of processing. Using a two-alternative forced-choice task, participants selected the preferred music or sentence passage.

Study Sample: Participants included 16 children (ages 8-16 yr) and 16 adults (ages 19-65 yr) with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss.

Intervention: All participants listened to speech and music processed using a hearing aid simulator fit to the Desired Sensation Level algorithm v5.0a.

Results: Children and adults did not differ in their preferences. For speech, participants preferredEBW to both NFC and RBW. Participants also preferred NFC to RBW. Preference was not related to the degree of hearing loss. For music, listeners did not show a preference. However, participants with greater hearing loss preferred NFC to RBW more than participants with less hearing loss. Conversely, participants with greater hearing loss were less likely to prefer EBW to RBW.

Conclusions: Both age groups preferred access to high-frequency sounds, as demonstrated by their preference for either the EBW or NFC conditions over the RBW condition. Preference for EBW can be limited for those with greater degrees of hearing loss, but participants with greater hearing loss may be more likely to prefer NFC. Further investigation using participants with more severe hearing loss may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-998
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014



  • Auditory rehabilitation
  • Hearing aids and assistive listening devices
  • Pediatric audiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing

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