A Model to Evaluate and Maximize Hearing Aid Performance by Integrating the Articulation Index Across Listening Conditions

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A method for integrating the articulation index (AI) across listening conditions was developed and applied to a preliminary model for evaluating and optimizing prescriptions of hearing aid characteristics. The model takes hearing threshold, masking of noise, self-masking of speech, high level cochlear distortion, and the peak-clipping effects of a hearing aid into account. The integrated AI (IAI) across a range of listening conditions is used as a criterion for evaluating a specific hearing aid response characteristic and calculating an optimal frequency-gain characteristic that maximizes the IAI. For a high-frequency hearing loss, the frequency-gain characteristics and IAI's derived from an optimal IAI (OIAI), POGO, and NAL prescriptions are compared for two of listening situations: a quiet setting and a setting with a signal-to-noise ratio of -3 dB. The results predict that, in quiet, the OIAI prescription is not significantly different from the well-established prescriptive procedures such as the POGO and the NAL. For the noise condition, however, the optimal IAI model is predicted to be better in terms of speech intelligibility.

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