"Automated procedures for the estimation of individual loudness-growth functions for improved hearing-aid fitting"
Michael Epstein - PhotoSecond only to difficulties with understanding speech in noise, poor representations of loudness are a primary complaint for many hearing-aid users. In fact, loudness discomfort or annoyance is often expressed as a primary motivator in the termination of hearing-aid use. It is well known that there is significant variability in the loudness growth of both normal-hearing and hearing-impaired individuals (e.g., Buus and Florentine, 2001; Cox, 1995; Marozeau and Florentine, 2007; Epstein and Florentine, 2005; Whilby et al., 2006). Hearing-impaired listeners with similar thresholds can have vastly different loudness growth functions. In particular, these listeners often substantially differ in the shape of the loudness function in the compressive region making it difficult to predict loudness functions from just a few data points (Hawkins and Naidoo, 1993; Kamm et al., 1978; Valente et al., 1997). Modern hearing aids can compensate for these differences in cochlear compression, however, in most cases, these listeners are fit with similar or identical compression algorithms.