List Equivalency of the AzBio Sentence Test in Noise for Listeners with Normal-Hearing Sensitivity or Cochlear Implants

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of North Texas, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (Impact Factor: 1.58). 07/2012; 23(7):501-9. DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.23.7.2
Source: PubMed


Speech recognition abilities of adults and children using cochlear implants (CIs) are significantly degraded in the presence of background noise, making this an important area of study and assessment by CI manufacturers, researchers, and audiologists. However, at this time there are a limited number of fixed-intensity sentence recognition tests available that also have multiple, equally intelligible lists in noise. One measure of speech recognition, the AzBio Sentence Test, provides 10-talker babble on the commercially available compact disc; however, there is no published evidence to support equivalency of the 15-sentence lists in noise for listeners with normal hearing (NH) or CIs. Furthermore, there is limited or no published data on the reliability, validity, and normative data for this test in noise for listeners with CIs or NH.
The primary goals of this study were to examine the equivalency of the AzBio Sentence Test lists at two signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in participants with NH and at one SNR for participants with CIs. Analyses were also conducted to establish the reliability, validity, and preliminary normative data for the AzBio Sentence Test for listeners with NH and CIs.
A cross-sectional, repeated measures design was used to assess speech recognition in noise for participants with NH or CIs.
The sample included 14 adults with NH and 12 adults or adolescents with Cochlear Freedom CI sound processors. Participants were recruited from the University of North Texas clinic population or from local CI centers. DATA COLLECTION and
Speech recognition was assessed using the 15 lists of the AzBio Sentence Test and the 10-talker babble. With the intensity of the sentences fixed at 73 dB SPL, listeners with NH were tested at 0 and -3 dB SNRs, and participants with CIs were tested at a +10 dB SNR. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the data.
The primary analyses revealed significant differences in performance across the 15 lists on the AzBio Sentence Test for listeners with NH and CIs. However, a follow-up analysis revealed no significant differences in performance across 10 of the 15 lists. Using the 10, equally-intelligible lists, a comparison of speech recognition performance across the two groups suggested similar performance between NH participants at a -3 dB SNR and the CI users at a +10 SNR. Several additional analyses were conducted to support the reliability and validity of the 10 equally intelligible AzBio sentence lists in noise, and preliminary normative data were provided.
Ten lists of the commercial version of the AzBio Sentence Test may be used as a reliable and valid measure of speech recognition in noise in listeners with NH or CIs. The equivalent lists may be used for a variety of purposes including audiological evaluations, determination of CI candidacy, hearing aid and CI programming considerations, research, and recommendations for hearing assistive technology. In addition, the preliminary normative data provided in this study establishes a starting point for the creation of comprehensive normative data for the AzBio Sentence Test.

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    • "The speech perception performance of cochlear implant (CI) users in quiet has continued to improve to a point where, for a significant number of recipients, open set speech understanding on sentence tests reaches 100% (Gifford et al., 2008). However, performance in noise is still an issue and when compared to normal hearing listeners; CI recipients still require significantly higher signal to noise ratios (SNRs) to achieve equivalent performance (Firszt et al., 2004; Schafer et al., 2012; Spahr and Dorman 2004). How to provide this improvement in performance in noise has become a major focus for both CI manufacturers and clinicians. "
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