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Hearing aids do not alter cortical entrainment to speech at audible levels in mild-to-moderately hearing-impaired subjects

Hearing aids do not alter cortical entrainment to speech at audible levels in mild-to-moderately hearing-impaired subjects
Hearing aids do not alter cortical entrainment to speech at audible levels in mild-to-moderately hearing-impaired subjects
Background: Cortical entrainment to speech correlates with speech intelligibility and attention to a speech stream in noisy environments. However, there is a lack of data on whether cortical entrainment can help in evaluating hearing aid fittings for subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss. One particular problem that may arise is that hearing aids may alter the speech stimulus during (pre-)processing steps, which might alter cortical entrainment to the speech. Here, the effect of hearing aid processing on cortical entrainment to running speech in hearing impaired subjects was investigated.

Methodology: Seventeen native English-speaking subjects with mild-to-moderate hearing loss participated in the study. Hearing function and hearing aid fitting were evaluated using standard clinical procedures. Participants then listened to a 25-min audiobook under aided and unaided conditions at 70 dBA sound pressure level (SPL) in quiet conditions. EEG data were collected using a 32-channel system. Cortical entrainment to speech was evaluated using decoders reconstructing the speech envelope from the EEG data. Null decoders, obtained from EEG and the time-reversed speech envelope, were used to assess the chance level reconstructions. Entrainment in the delta- (1–4 Hz) and theta- (4–8 Hz) band, as well as wideband (1–20 Hz) EEG data was investigated.

Results: Significant cortical responses could be detected for all but one subject in all three frequency bands under both aided and unaided conditions. However, no significant differences could be found between the two conditions in the number of responses detected, nor in the strength of cortical entrainment. The results show that the relatively small change in speech input provided by the hearing aid was not sufficient to elicit a detectable change in cortical entrainment.

Conclusion: For subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss, cortical entrainment to speech in quiet at an audible level is not affected by hearing aids. These results clear the pathway for exploring the potential to use cortical entrainment to running speech for evaluating hearing aid fitting at lower speech intensities (which could be inaudible when unaided), or using speech in noise conditions.
1662-5161
1-13
Vanheusden, Frederique J.
c3022456-907d-4dfa-b537-b3fbc119d76b
Kegler, Mikolaj
5f0251e9-c775-4f44-9e0e-9651c8a32e3b
Ireland, Katie
63342d9f-8aa3-4254-90a6-617b72ccc899
Georga, Constantina
9c9aa364-d422-4974-82d7-59b68226deda
Simpson, David M.
53674880-f381-4cc9-8505-6a97eeac3c2a
Reichenbach, Tobias
286ebb9e-85b1-4574-949a-33af840e63b2
Bell, Steven L.
91de0801-d2b7-44ba-8e8e-523e672aed8a
Vanheusden, Frederique J.
c3022456-907d-4dfa-b537-b3fbc119d76b
Kegler, Mikolaj
5f0251e9-c775-4f44-9e0e-9651c8a32e3b
Ireland, Katie
63342d9f-8aa3-4254-90a6-617b72ccc899
Georga, Constantina
9c9aa364-d422-4974-82d7-59b68226deda
Simpson, David M.
53674880-f381-4cc9-8505-6a97eeac3c2a
Reichenbach, Tobias
286ebb9e-85b1-4574-949a-33af840e63b2
Bell, Steven L.
91de0801-d2b7-44ba-8e8e-523e672aed8a

Vanheusden, Frederique J., Kegler, Mikolaj, Ireland, Katie, Georga, Constantina, Simpson, David M., Reichenbach, Tobias and Bell, Steven L. (2020) Hearing aids do not alter cortical entrainment to speech at audible levels in mild-to-moderately hearing-impaired subjects. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14, 1-13, [109]. (doi:10.3389/fnhum.2020.00109).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Cortical entrainment to speech correlates with speech intelligibility and attention to a speech stream in noisy environments. However, there is a lack of data on whether cortical entrainment can help in evaluating hearing aid fittings for subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss. One particular problem that may arise is that hearing aids may alter the speech stimulus during (pre-)processing steps, which might alter cortical entrainment to the speech. Here, the effect of hearing aid processing on cortical entrainment to running speech in hearing impaired subjects was investigated.

Methodology: Seventeen native English-speaking subjects with mild-to-moderate hearing loss participated in the study. Hearing function and hearing aid fitting were evaluated using standard clinical procedures. Participants then listened to a 25-min audiobook under aided and unaided conditions at 70 dBA sound pressure level (SPL) in quiet conditions. EEG data were collected using a 32-channel system. Cortical entrainment to speech was evaluated using decoders reconstructing the speech envelope from the EEG data. Null decoders, obtained from EEG and the time-reversed speech envelope, were used to assess the chance level reconstructions. Entrainment in the delta- (1–4 Hz) and theta- (4–8 Hz) band, as well as wideband (1–20 Hz) EEG data was investigated.

Results: Significant cortical responses could be detected for all but one subject in all three frequency bands under both aided and unaided conditions. However, no significant differences could be found between the two conditions in the number of responses detected, nor in the strength of cortical entrainment. The results show that the relatively small change in speech input provided by the hearing aid was not sufficient to elicit a detectable change in cortical entrainment.

Conclusion: For subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss, cortical entrainment to speech in quiet at an audible level is not affected by hearing aids. These results clear the pathway for exploring the potential to use cortical entrainment to running speech for evaluating hearing aid fitting at lower speech intensities (which could be inaudible when unaided), or using speech in noise conditions.

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Accepted/In Press date: 11 March 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 April 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441655
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441655
ISSN: 1662-5161
PURE UUID: df90ad90-7e7c-4157-a476-6d86d7600f9e
ORCID for Frederique J. Vanheusden: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2369-6189

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Date deposited: 23 Jun 2020 16:31
Last modified: 28 Jul 2020 16:45

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