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Towards a Functional Hearing Test for Musicians: The Probe Tone Method

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posted on 21.05.2021, 16:34 by Frank A Russo
The relationship between hearing outcomes in the real world and hearing thresholds obtained by pure-tone audiometry has long been recognized as weak (Davis, 1947; Hirsch, 1952).This fact presents a problem for hearing aid fitting and will continue to do so as long as people wish to use hearing in their day-to-day living. Over the last few decades, the problem has been alleviated to some extent by what have come to be known as functional hearing tests. Generally, these tests assess some aspect of real-world hearing (e.g., speech perception) under simulated real-world conditions (e.g., noisy environments). Examples of such tests include the SPIN-R (Bilger, Nuetzel, Rabinowitz, & Rzeczkowski, 1984; Kalikow, Stevens, & Elliot, 1977) and HINT tests (Nilsson, Soli, & Sullivan, 1994). In both tests, the procedure involves having the participant repeat back words presented in a background of noise. Word identification accuracy can be used to differentiate individuals who would otherwise be judged equivalent on the basis of pure-tone audiometry alone (Pichora-Fuller, Schneider, & Daneman, 1995). Thresholds obtained from pure-tone audiometry may also be inadequate for predicting hearing outcomes in the real world of musicians.

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