Identification of appropriate and sensitive outcomes to measure the benefits of auditory training

Chief investigator

Dr Melanie Ferguson

Study team

Dr Helen Henshaw
Dr Daniel Clark

Funder

NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit programme

Study period

2011-2012

Background and rationale:

Auditory training studies are extremely time-intensive. Research participants take part in 3 or 4 assessments during the course of a study, where they complete a range of listening and cognitive tests. These tests are designed to monitor any changes in performance and examine the benefits to their real-world listening abilities. It is therefore important that the tests we select are appropriate and sensitive to those changes. This study investigates which tests are best able to measure benefits of auditory training to the real world listening abilities of people with hearing loss and hearing aids.

Methods:

- Adults aged 50-74 years of age, with mild to moderate sensorineural (age-related) hearing loss and who wore hearing aids, volunteered to take part in this study.
- Auditory training (phonemes in noise) was delivered at home via loaned laptops for 30 minutes per day (2 x 15 minute sessions), 7 days per week for 1 week.
- Benefits of auditory training were measured using a number of listening and cognitive tests set at different difficulty levels, in order to identify those which are most relevant for identifying training related benefits.

Results:

Listening tests which are cognitively challenging (like listening to one person whilst actively trying to ignore a second person talking) are most sensitive to the benefits of auditory training. Also, tests which are neither too-easy, nor too-difficult, are most likely to detect training-related changes in performance. The tests identified in this research will be used in future training studies at the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit.

Henshaw, H. Ferguson, MA. (2014). Assessing the benefits of auditory training to real-world listening: identifying appropriate and sensitive outcomes.
Proceedings of the 4th ISAAR Symposium  (1-10)