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Claus Nielsen

Research Audiologist

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mail@eriksholm.com

One aspect of successful communication is using a voice level that is appropriate for the situation. Demands on controlling this can be set by either background noise or speaker-listener distance. This study investigated own voice level control elicited by speaker-listener distance.
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The problem

Own-voice level control is difficult for hearing-aid users because the hearing aid interferes with the auditory feedback that people utilise to regulate their voice level.

Testing own voice level control

The test subjects were equipped with experimental hearing aids with receivers (loudspeakers) placed in deeply fitted, tight sealing domes in order to make them occlusion free. Speaker-listener distance and the gain of the experimental hearing aid were varied during the experiment

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Results

As expected, the users’ perception of own voice level and sound quality was strongly affected by the amount of gain in the hearing aid, when the test subjects were supervised into producing the right voice level for the distance.

A key observation during unsupervised trials was that some users had developed a level-control strategy based on proprioceptive feedback (based on the sense of feel) as a substitute for the auditory feedback that usually dominates.


Further reading

Laugesen S, Nielsen C, Maas P, Jensen NS (2008). Observations on hearing-aid user's strategies for controlling the level of their own voice. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 20(8), p. 503-513.

Laugesen S, Jensen NS, Maas P, Nielsen C (2007). Self-perceived own-voice level and sound quality in hearing-aid users. Hearing review, 15(1), p. 28,32-35.

Laugesen S, Jensen NS, Maas P, Nielsen C (2007). Variations in ‘adequate’ own-voice level used by speakers and preferred by listeners when communicating across a distance. In: Dau T, Buchholz JM, Harte J. Christiansen TU (Eds.) Auditory Signal Processing in Hearing-Impaired Listeners. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Audiological and Auditory Research, ISAAR, p. 541-550.

Laugesen S, Jensen NS, Maas P, Nielsen C (2007). Variations in ‘adequate’ own-voice level used by speakers and preferred by listeners when communicating across a distance. In: Dau T, Buchholz JM, Harte J. Christiansen TU (Eds.) Auditory Signal Processing in Hearing-Impaired Listeners. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Audiological and Auditory Research, ISAAR, p. 541-550.

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    Poster

    Variations in adequate own-voice level