Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Health Sciences

Department

Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Sharon Stewart

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Effgen

Abstract

Research has shown that re-learning to understand speech in noise can be a difficult task for adults with hearing aids (HA). If HA users want to improve their speech understanding ability, specific training may be needed. Auditory training is one type of intervention that may enhance listening abilities for adult HA users.

The purpose of this study was to examine the behavioral effects of an auditory training program called Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE™) in the Digital Video Display (DVD) format in new and experienced HA users. No research to date has been conducted on the efficacy of this training program.

An experimental, repeated measures group design was used. Twenty–six adults with hearing loss participated in this experiment and were assigned to one of three groups: New HA + training, Experienced HA + training or New HA – control. Participants in the training groups completed twenty, 30 minute training lessons from the LACE™ DVD program at home over a period of 4-weeks. Trained group participants were evaluated at baseline, after 2-weeks of training and again after 4- weeks of training. Participants in the control group were evaluated at baseline and after 4-weeks of HA use.

Findings indicate that both new and experienced users improved their understanding of speech in noise after training and perception of communication function. Effect size calculations suggested that a larger training effect was observed for new HA users compared to experienced HA users. New HA users also reported greater benefit from training compared to experienced users. Auditory training with the LACE ™ DVD format should be encouraged, particularly among new HA users to improve understanding speech in noise.

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