Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Arehart, Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Tammy Fredrickson, Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel Jones, Honors Program

Abstract

There are many people who use hearing aids, yet 43% of hearing-aid users do not find that their hearing aids make a difference in their music enjoyment (Leek et al. 2008). Unfortunately for individuals with hearing impairment who enjoy listening to music, hearing aids have been largely aimed to process speech. The significant acoustic dissimilarities between music and speech must be considered by current hearing aid manufactures in order for digital signal processing to increase the overall sound quality of music. Analyses show that 30-40% of hearing aid users in the United States most likely own a smartphone (personal listening device) and that will likely double within 5 years (Sabin, et al 2013). Based on consumers’ lack of enjoyment with listening to music through hearing aids and the increasing number of individuals who use personal listening devices (e.g. iPad, iPhone), researchers have been developing applications for smartphones and tablets that are designed to increase the enjoyment of listening to recorded music over hearing aids or headphones. The current study examined the effects of digital signal processing, and characteristics of the input signal on user-adjusted settings in a simulated hearing aid application made by individuals with hearing impairment and without hearing impairment. Results showed that listeners were most reliable in hearing aid adjustments related to the loudness of music, and somewhat less reliable in the adjustments related to fine tuning (spectral shape).

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