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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 85  |  Page : 312--318

Application of the online hearing screening test “Earcheck”: Speech intelligibility in noise in teenagers and young adults

Clinical and Experimental Audiology, ENT Department, Academic Medical Center (AMC) Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Marya Sheikh Rashid
Clinical and Experimental Audiology, ENT Department, Academic Medical Center (AMC) Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22660, Amsterdam
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.195807

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Objective: The objective was to describe the speech intelligibility in noise test results among Dutch teenagers and young adults aged 12–24 years, using a national online speech reception threshold (SRT) test, the Earcheck. A secondary objective was to assess the effect of age and gender on speech intelligibility in noise. Design: Cross-sectional SRT data were collected over a 5-year period (2010–2014), from participants of Earcheck. Regression analyses were performed, with SRT as the dependent variable, and age and gender as explaining variables. To cross-validate the model, data from 12- to 24-year olds from the same test distributed by a hearing aid dispenser (Hoorscan) were used. Results: In total, 96,803 valid test results were analyzed. The mean SRT score was −18.3 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) (standard deviation (SD) = 3.7). Twenty-five percent of the scores was rated as insufficient or poor. SRT performance significantly improved with increasing age for teenagers aged 12–18 years by 0.49 dB SNR per age-year. A smaller age-effect (0.09 dB SNR per age-year) was found for young adults aged 19–24 years. Small differences between male and female users were found. Conclusion: Earcheck generated large quantities of national SRT data. The data implied that a substantial number of users of Earcheck may have some difficulty in understanding speech in noise. Furthermore, the results of this study showed an effect of gender and age on SRT performance, suggesting an ongoing maturation of speech-in-noise performance into late adolescence. This suggests the use of age-dependent reference values, but for this purpose, more research is required.


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