Insights on Amplitude Compression Strategies in Paediatric Hearing Aids
While fast wide dynamic range compression (WDRC) effectively increases low-level speech sounds, it also holds the risk to disrupt or alter binaural cues that are important to a child’s ability to learn to spatially separate sound sources. The American Academy of Audiology has recommended amplitude compression strategies that, similar to Speech Guard, “ensure a range of input levels is compressed sufficiently” and “accommodate sensitivity to loud sounds while restoring low level speech audibility” and that, at the same time, “minimize alternation of speech cues.” The new study results support Oticon’s position on the use of Speech Guard in hearing solutions specifically designed for paediatric patients.
The study, commissioned by Oticon A/S, involved children, ages 8 - 12 years with moderately-severe sensorineural hearing loss. The study participants were fitted binaurally with both Acto Pro and Agil Pro instruments with all advanced features disabled. This ensured that the amplitude compression scheme was the only difference. Acto Pro instruments featured the WDRC amplification scheme. The Agil Pro instruments featured Speech Guard’s adaptive-compression that responds slowly and operates in a linear manner when the acoustic environment is stable and adjusts swiftly to prevent sounds from becoming uncomfortable when the acoustic environment changes abruptly. Sentence material from the Hearing in Noise Test for Children (Hint-C) was used to score speech recognition.
Every Child Benefits
In testing, the children’s receptive vocabulary was measured using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVTv4). Results indicated that irrespective of their vocabulary performance, each child on average benefited from the Speech Guard compression scheme. In further acoustic analysis, Oticon Lead Developer Michael S. Pedersen, Ph.D. showed that the modulation of the speech signal is better maintained with Speech Guard than with fast WDRC.
“Evidence such as that from the study provides further validation that the adaptive amplification strategy provided by Speech Guard can help to optimize auditory development,” says Heine Højvang Andersen, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing, Paediatrics. “Oticon is committed to providing a better future for every child with hearing loss. Our goal is to continue to deliver innovative solutions with features that culminate in great speech understanding for children in the many complex environments they encounter every day.”
The next generation Speech Guard, Speech Guard E, is featured in Oticon Sensei, Oticon’s new family of premium paediatric hearing instruments. Sensei’s combination of audiological features is designed to optimize auditory and cognitive habilitation so that children can develop their auditory systems as fully and naturally as possible.
Learn more about Speech Guard E and Oticon Sensei.
The linear window of Speech Guard E is indicated by the purple line within the input/output domain. The window will move depending on the input level. At all times it will thus stay within the auditory dynamic range, making the output audible, comfortable and clear.
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