Functional Hearing Evaluation For Military Occupational Specialties

The Hearing Science Lab at the University of Maryland currently works with investigators at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and Creare, Inc. to develop and validate auditory-visual tests for evaluating functional performance of hearing-impaired individuals under conditions simulating real-world task demands.  The studies assess speech perception in noise and are intended to be relevant to functional performance.  For different studies, we evaluate detection, discrimination, or identification performance using simple and complex speech stimuli, which are presented at different speech rates or with added task demands such as a secondary memory task.  In some studies we assess the benefit of visual cues, relative to auditory-only, under these more difficult listening conditions.  The studies also evaluate the impact of added memory demands on speech understanding performance as well as the benefit of hearing aid algorithms to determine their efficacy for improving functional hearing performance in hearing-impaired soldiers.

The current project aims to assess real-world difficulty for listeners in group situations while communicating in noisy environments. Hearing-impaired individuals have the most difficulty in this type of listening condition, but it is unknown how much difficulty normal hearing listeners face in this type of real-world situation. The project will assess the effects of variation in speaker location and target speaker on speech recognition performance. Listening condition will also be manipulated to assess performance when the listener has varying degrees of access to acoustic information and auditory-visual (AV) cues.

Related Publications and Presentations

  • Schurman, J., Gordon-Salant, S., Brungart, D., Grant, K. (2013) Effects of masker type, sentence context, and listener age on performance in one-back listening tasks. 5th International and Interdisciplinary Research Conference of Aging and Speech Communication. View Link
  • Brungart, D., Iyer, N., Thompson, E., Simpson, B., Gordon-Salant, S., Schurman, J., Vogel, C., Grant, K. (2013). Interactions between listening effort and masker type on the energetic and informational masking of speech stimuli. Proceedings of the 21st International Congress on Acoustics. View Article
  • Schurman, J., Brungart, D., & Gordon-Salant, S. (2014). Effects of masker type, sentence context, and listener age on speech recognition performance in 1-back listening tasks. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 136, 3337-3349. View Article
  • Barrett, M., Costantino, K., Cohen, J., Gordon-Salant, S., & Brungart, D. (2015). The Cafeteria Study: Effects of visual cues, hearing protection, and real-world noise on speech recognition. Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Midwinter Meeting, Baltimore. View Link
  • Cohen, J., Brungart, D., Gordon-Salant, S., Barrett, M.*, & Costantino, K.* (2015). Real-world communication strategies with amplification. American Auditory Society Meeting, Scottsdale.  

This research is supported by a contract from Creare, Inc. with funding by the Department of Defense