Impact of room acoustic parameters on speech and music perception among participants with cochlear implants

Autor(en): Eurich, Bernhard
Klenzner, Thomas
Oehler, Michael 
Stichwörter: Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology; CHILDREN; CLINICAL-ASSESSMENT; Cochlear implants; HEARING; INTELLIGIBILITY; LISTENING EFFORT; Music; Neurosciences; Neurosciences & Neurology; Otorhinolaryngology; OVERLAP-MASKING; Pleasantness; REVERBERATION; Reverberation time; Room acoustics; SELF-MASKING; SOUND QUALITY; Source-to-listener-distance; Speech; USERS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2019
Volumen: 377
Startseite: 122
Seitenende: 132
Objectives: Besides numerous other factors, listening experience with cochlear implants is substantially impaired by room acoustics. Even for persons without hearing impairment, the perception of auditory scenes, for example, concerning speech intelligibility, acoustic quality or audibility, is considerably influenced by room acoustics. For CI users, complex listening environments are usually associated with heavy losses. The aim of the present study was to determine room acoustic criteria that particularly influence speech pleasantness for CI users. Design: Accordingly, speech material of the Oldenburg Sentence Test (Oldenburger Satztest, OLSA) as well as basic music material (major and minor triads) were auralized using the software Auratorium which allows auralization of simulated rooms. The constructed rooms for speech stimuli were based on the standard DIN 18041:2016-03 concerning acoustic quality in rooms, the binding standard referred to by room acoustic consultants in Germany, which also includes specifications for inclusive applications in schools. For the music perception tests, two typical concert halls of different sizes were modelled. The auralized test stimuli were unilaterally presented to 10 CI users via their auxiliary input as well as to 18 participants with typical hearing via headphones (control group). Speech pleasantness was evaluated using modified MUSHRA tests. Concerning music perception, chord discrimination was tested using paired comparisons. Results: A strong preference of small source to listener distances by CI users was found, but no significant preference for room acoustic attenuation which exceeded the recommended for inclusive applications in schools. The analyses of the energy-time-structures suggested that a dense concentration of early reflections makes a beneficial impact on CI listeners' pleasantness ratings. Music materials were distinguished more consistently without any room acoustic impact, while any room acoustic impact led to performance close to chance level. This effect is probably due to spectral smearing effects caused by reverberation. Conclusions: These results suggest that in terms of pleasantness of speech, for CI-users, source-to-listener distance is the more influential parameter than room attenuation which goes beyond the German standard recommendation. Reflections from which CI users can benefit seem to occur much earlier than those from which NH listeners benefit. Future studies on chord discrimination concerning room acoustics are needed. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 03785955
DOI: 10.1016/j.heares.2019.03.012

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