Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated that improving the ability to understand speech in noise can be a difficult task for adults with hearing aids (HAs). If HA users want to improve their speech understanding ability, specific training may be needed. Auditory training (AT) is one type of intervention that may enhance speech recognition abilities for adult HA users.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the behavioral effects of an AT program called Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) in the DVD format in new and experienced HA users. While some research has been conducted using the computer version of this program, no research to date has been conducted on the efficacy of the DVD version of the LACE training program in both new and experienced HA users.
Research design: An experimental, prospective repeated measures group design, with random assignment.
Study sample: Twenty-nine adults with hearing loss were assigned to one of three groups: new HA plus training, experienced HA plus training, or control (new HA users with no training during the study but provided with training afterward). New HA aid users were randomly assigned to either the training or control group.
Intervention: Participants in the training groups completed twenty 30 min training lessons from the LACE DVD program at home over a period of 4 wk.
Data collection: Participants in both training groups were evaluated at baseline, after 2 wk of training and again after 4 wk of training. Participants in the control group were evaluated at baseline and after 4 wk of HA use. Several objective listening measures were administered including speech in noise, rapid speech, and competing sentences tasks. Subjective measures included evaluating the participants' perception of the intervention as well as their perceptions of functional listening abilities.
Results: Findings indicate that both new and experienced users improved their understanding of speech in noise, understanding of competing sentences, and communication function after training in comparison to a control group. 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. AT with the LACE DVD format should be encouraged, particularly among new HA users, to improve understanding in difficult listening conditions.
American Academy of Audiology.