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Audiol. Res., Volume 11, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The clinical characterization of hearing deficits for hearing-aid fitting purposes is typically based on the pure-tone audiogram only. This study proposes and pilot-tests hearing-aid settings for four clinically relevant patient sub-populations or “auditory profiles” to achieve more individualized treatment. The results showed different preference patterns for the auditory profiles, thereby supporting further investigations into profile-based hearing-aid fitting. View this paper.
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Review
Defining the Role of Attention in Hierarchical Auditory Processing
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 112-128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010012 - 13 Mar 2021
Viewed by 651
Abstract
Communication in noise is a complex process requiring efficient neural encoding throughout the entire auditory pathway as well as contributions from higher-order cognitive processes (i.e., attention) to extract speech cues for perception. Thus, identifying effective clinical interventions for individuals with speech-in-noise deficits relies [...] Read more.
Communication in noise is a complex process requiring efficient neural encoding throughout the entire auditory pathway as well as contributions from higher-order cognitive processes (i.e., attention) to extract speech cues for perception. Thus, identifying effective clinical interventions for individuals with speech-in-noise deficits relies on the disentanglement of bottom-up (sensory) and top-down (cognitive) factors to appropriately determine the area of deficit; yet, how attention may interact with early encoding of sensory inputs remains unclear. For decades, attentional theorists have attempted to address this question with cleverly designed behavioral studies, but the neural processes and interactions underlying attention’s role in speech perception remain unresolved. While anatomical and electrophysiological studies have investigated the neurological structures contributing to attentional processes and revealed relevant brain–behavior relationships, recent electrophysiological techniques (i.e., simultaneous recording of brainstem and cortical responses) may provide novel insight regarding the relationship between early sensory processing and top-down attentional influences. In this article, we review relevant theories that guide our present understanding of attentional processes, discuss current electrophysiological evidence of attentional involvement in auditory processing across subcortical and cortical levels, and propose areas for future study that will inform the development of more targeted and effective clinical interventions for individuals with speech-in-noise deficits. Full article
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Article
Health Status of Adults with Hearing Loss in the United States
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 100-111; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010011 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 617
Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the current health status of adults in the United States with self-reported hearing loss and compare it with US adults with a self-reported excellent or good hearing in three areas: (1) chronic disease states [...] Read more.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the current health status of adults in the United States with self-reported hearing loss and compare it with US adults with a self-reported excellent or good hearing in three areas: (1) chronic disease states and general health status, (2) medical screening behaviors, and (3) lifestyle behaviors. Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted using the 2014 data set from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), specifically the Sample Adult Public Use File (samadult). For this questionnaire set, one adult per family was randomly selected. This individual self-reported their response to the questionnaire items. Binary regressions were used to analyze the odds ratio to find differences for selected disease states, screenings, and lifestyle behaviors. Respondents were grouped into one of four categories: excellent/good hearing, a little trouble hearing, moderate/a lot of trouble hearing, and deaf. Results: The excellent/good hearing group was used as the comparison group for the other three levels of hearing. There are many differences in likelihood to self-report disease states; the greatest increased likelihoods include tinnitus and heart disease, with tinnitus being 8.6 times more likely for those who identified as having moderate/a lot of hearing loss. Those with any level of hearing loss were 3 to 5 times more likely to self-report heart disease. Regarding lifestyle factors, individuals with any level of hearing loss were less likely to consume alcohol and 2.5 to 9 times more likely to be unable to engage in moderate or vigorous activity on a weekly basis, respectively. Conclusions: There is a difference in the health status of individuals with hearing loss across all three areas examined (chronic disease states and general health status, medical screening behaviors, and lifestyle behaviors), and those differences vary based on level of hearing loss, the most notable being the self-reported inability to engage in moderate and vigorous physical activity. Disproportionate rates of tinnitus and heart disease were evident in all levels of hearing loss but most notable in those identifying as having moderate/a lot of trouble hearing. Further interdisciplinary research is necessary to improve the health of individuals with all levels of hearing loss, increase awareness of the hearing/health connection, and decrease hearing loss in general. Full article
Article
Use of an Extra-Tympanic Membrane Electrode to Record Cochlear Microphonics with Click, Tone Burst and Chirp Stimuli
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 89-99; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010010 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
This study determined electrocochleography (ECochG) parameter settings to obtain cochlear microphonics (CM) with less invasive flexible extra-tympanic membrane electrodes. In 24 adult normal-hearing subjects, CMs were elicited by presenting click stimuli at 100 dBnHL, tone bursts (2 kHz) and broadband (BB) CE-chirps® [...] Read more.
This study determined electrocochleography (ECochG) parameter settings to obtain cochlear microphonics (CM) with less invasive flexible extra-tympanic membrane electrodes. In 24 adult normal-hearing subjects, CMs were elicited by presenting click stimuli at 100 dBnHL, tone bursts (2 kHz) and broadband (BB) CE-chirps® LS (Interacoustics, Middelfart, Denmark), both at 80 dBnHL. Different high-pass filters (HPFs) (3.3 Hz and 100 Hz, respectively) were used to investigate response quality of the CM. CMs were successfully obtained in 92–100% with click-, 75–83% with 2 kHz tone burst- and 58–63% with CE-chirp®-LS stimuli. Click stimuli elicited significantly larger CM amplitudes compared to 2 kHz tone bursts and BB CE-chirp® LS (Interacoustics, Middelfart, Denmark). No significant differences were found between the two different high-pass filter (HPF) settings. The present study shows that it is possible to obtain clear CMs with the flexible extra-tympanic membrane electrodes using click stimuli. In contrast to 2 kHz tone bursts and CE-chirp® (Interacoustics, Middelfart, Denmark) LS, clicks show a significantly higher success rate and are the preferred stimuli to confirm the presence or absence of CMs. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Italian Simplified Matrix Test for Speech-Recognition Measurements in Noise
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 73-88; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010009 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
This study aimed at the evaluation of a simplified Italian matrix test (SiIMax) for speech-recognition measurements in noise for adults and children. Speech-recognition measurements with adults and children were conducted to examine the training effect and to establish reference speech-recognition thresholds of 50% [...] Read more.
This study aimed at the evaluation of a simplified Italian matrix test (SiIMax) for speech-recognition measurements in noise for adults and children. Speech-recognition measurements with adults and children were conducted to examine the training effect and to establish reference speech-recognition thresholds of 50% (SRT50) and 80% (SRT80) correct responses. Test-list equivalency was evaluated only with adults. Twenty adults and 96 children—aged between 5 and 10 years—participated. Evaluation measurements with the adults confirmed the equivalence of the test lists, with a mean SRT50 of −8.0 dB and a standard deviation of 0.2 dB across the test lists. The test-specific slope (the average of the list-specific slopes) was 11.3%/dB, with a standard deviation of 0.6%/dB. For both adults and children, only one test list of 14 phrases needs to be presented to account for the training effect. For the adults, adaptive measurements of the SRT50 and SRT80 showed mean values of −7.0 ± 0.6 and −4.5 ± 1.1 dB, respectively. For children, a slight influence of age on the SRT was observed. The mean SRT50s were −5.6 ± 1.2, −5.8 ± 1.2 and −6.6 ± 1.3 dB for the children aged 5–6, 7–8 and 9–10 years, respectively. The corresponding SRT80s were −1.5 ± 2.7, −3.0 ± 1.7 and −3.7 ± 1.4 dB. High test–retest reliabilities of 1.0 and 1.1 dB for the SRT80 were obtained for the adults and children, respectively. This makes the test suitable for accurate and reliable speech-recognition measurements. Full article
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Article
Alexithymia in Patients with Ménière Disease: A Possible Role on Anxiety and Depression
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 63-72; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010008 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to investigate the role of the psychological variable of alexithymia both as a risk factor for the development of Ménière’s disease (MD) and as a component that influences the personal experience of MD and the individual quality [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to investigate the role of the psychological variable of alexithymia both as a risk factor for the development of Ménière’s disease (MD) and as a component that influences the personal experience of MD and the individual quality of life. We collected data from 179 Italian patients who fulfilled criteria for definite MD. Patients filled out validated self-rating questionnaires to assess alexithymia (TAS-20), quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF), anxiety and depression (HADS), perception of stress (PSS) and coping strategies (COPE). Socio-demographic data and MD clinical features were collected using a specific rating form. Subjects affected by MD showed higher levels of alexithymia compared to general population. Among MD patients, those characterized by high levels of alexithymia revealed a significant increase in anxiety and depression, greater perceived stress, a lower quality of life in psychological health and social relationships domains and the use of less mature coping strategies in comparison with MD patients with low or absent alexithymia. Our preliminary data could help in hypothesizing a role of psychological functioning in MD development and in the adaptation to the disease. The presence of alexithymia in patients suffering from MD may constitute a risk factor for the development of anxiety and depression symptoms; greater perceived stress and for poorer psychological and relational quality of life. Therefore, our study design did not allow causal inferences and further studies are needed. Full article
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Case Report
Positional Nystagmus after Acute Vertiginous Attack in Meniere’s Disease
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 55-62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010007 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 764
Abstract
There have been no reports regarding nystagmus observed immediately after the end of an acute vertiginous attack in patients with Meniere’s disease. The aim of this study was to demonstrate positional direction-changing nystagmus in patients with Meniere’s disease, and to discuss the mechanism [...] Read more.
There have been no reports regarding nystagmus observed immediately after the end of an acute vertiginous attack in patients with Meniere’s disease. The aim of this study was to demonstrate positional direction-changing nystagmus in patients with Meniere’s disease, and to discuss the mechanism that underlies this nystagmus. Video-nystagmography was recorded in two patients with definite Meniere’s disease, who showed positional direction-changing nystagmus during the period immediately after a vertigo attack. In one patient, video-nystagmographic recording was conducted 5 h after an episode of vertigo attack, and it showed very weak, persistent positional geotropic direction-changing nystagmus. In the other patient, video-nystagmographic recording was conducted 23 h after an episode of vertigo attack, and it showed very weak, persistent positional apogeotropic direction-changing nystagmus. Our patients exhibited very weak, persistent positional direction-changing nystagmus, which was geotropic in one and apogeotropic in the other. This type of positional nystagmus has been reported in other inner ear disorders and it cannot be clearly explained by typical benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The change in chemical composition and/or electrolyte concentration of the inner ear fluid, although still unclear, may underlie the production of this characteristic nystagmus in these patients. Full article
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Article
Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo in Children
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 47-54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010006 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 983
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and analyze clinical parameters of benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) in a pediatric age. A cohort of 423 children under the age of 15 (median age 11. interquartile range 9–13) was submitted to [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and analyze clinical parameters of benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) in a pediatric age. A cohort of 423 children under the age of 15 (median age 11. interquartile range 9–13) was submitted to vestibular assessment for balance disorders. Dix-Hallpike and Roll-Supine tests were performed to look for positioning nystagmus using video-infrared goggles. BPPV was found in 43 of 423 children evaluated for balance disorders (10.2%). There were 28 females (65.1%) and 15 (34.9%) males. The posterior canal was involved in 79% of cases and the horizontal canal in 21% of cases. No apogeotropic bilateral or anterior canal form were seen. Thus, BPPV is not an infrequent type of vertigo in children and must be evaluated as soon as possible in order to plan the most appropriate maneuver and restore daily activities as soon as possible, avoiding anxiety and fear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Positional Vertigo)
Article
Auditory Brainstem Responses to Successive Sounds: Effects of Gap Duration and Depth
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 38-46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010005 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Temporal acuity is the ability to differentiate between sounds based on fluctuations in the waveform envelope. The proximity of successive sounds and background noise diminishes the ability to track rapid changes between consecutive sounds. We determined whether a physiological correlate of temporal acuity [...] Read more.
Temporal acuity is the ability to differentiate between sounds based on fluctuations in the waveform envelope. The proximity of successive sounds and background noise diminishes the ability to track rapid changes between consecutive sounds. We determined whether a physiological correlate of temporal acuity is also affected by these factors. We recorded the auditory brainstem response (ABR) from human listeners using a harmonic complex (S1) followed by a brief tone burst (S2) with the latter serving as the evoking signal. The duration and depth of the silent gap between S1 and S2 were manipulated, and the peak latency and amplitude of wave V were measured. The latency of the responses decreased significantly as the duration or depth of the gap increased. The amplitude of the responses was not affected by the duration or depth of the gap. These findings suggest that changing the physical parameters of the gap affects the auditory system’s ability to encode successive sounds. Full article
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Article
Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Influence on Prognosis of Autoimmune Hearing Loss
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 31-37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010004 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Background: To evaluate the effect of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on hearing outcome in patients suffering from autoimmune hearing loss (AIHL). Materials and Methods: The diagnosis of AIHL was essentially based on clinical symptoms, such as recurrent, sudden, fluctuating, or quickly progressing (<12 [...] Read more.
Background: To evaluate the effect of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on hearing outcome in patients suffering from autoimmune hearing loss (AIHL). Materials and Methods: The diagnosis of AIHL was essentially based on clinical symptoms, such as recurrent, sudden, fluctuating, or quickly progressing (<12 months) sensorineural hearing loss (uni-/bilateral). The molecular typing of HLA alleles was achieved by using polymerase chain reaction procedures. Patients underwent a tapering schema of steroid treatment and audiometric features were recorded. A logistic regression model was used to identify which HLA typing alleles were statistically significant in patients’ response to treatment. Results: Forty patients with AIHL were found to be carriers of HLA B27, B35, B51, C4, C7, and DRB1*04 alleles. No statistically significant influence of HLA B27, B35, B51, C4, C7, DRB1*04 HLA alleles typing was detected for the prognosis of AIHL. In these patients, the onset of AIHL was mainly progressive (53.8%), 29.2% of them had moderate hearing loss, and most of the cases had both bilateral hearing loss (62.5%) and downsloping audiogram (40%). Conclusion: The presence of HLA B27, B35, B51, C4, C7, and DRB1*04 alleles had no significant effect on a favorable outcome of AIHL. However, larger samples of patients are necessary in order to improve the knowledge about the HLA influence on the clinical course of AIHL. Full article
Article
The Role of Autosensitivity Control (ASC) in Cochlear Implant Recipients
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 22-30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010003 - 21 Jan 2021
Viewed by 789
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to examine the subjective and objective potential advantage for speech understanding in noise achieved by cochlear implant (CI) recipients when using the autosensitivity control (ASC) input signal processing in combination with the adaptive dynamic range optimization (ADRO). [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to examine the subjective and objective potential advantage for speech understanding in noise achieved by cochlear implant (CI) recipients when using the autosensitivity control (ASC) input signal processing in combination with the adaptive dynamic range optimization (ADRO). Eighteen subjects (8 females, 10 males, mean age 17.7 ± 6.7) were enrolled in a prospective open blinded comparative study between the ASC + ADRO condition vs. the ADRO alone; 16 were sequential binaural and 2 were monoaural CI recipients. All patients had been wearing their CI for at least 3 years, had no additional disabilities, had an age-appropriate receptive and expressive language. Word recognition performances in noise (at signal-to-noise ratio +5 dB HL) were significantly better in the ADRO-alone condition than in the ADRO + ASC condition. (p = 0.03) These objective outcomes were in agreement with the subjective reports. No significant difference was found in quiet. Our results, apparently in contrast with other reports in the literature, suggest that the decision of adding the slow-acting automatic reduction in microphone sensitivity provided by ASC should be limited to selected CI recipients. Full article
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Article
Towards Auditory Profile-Based Hearing-Aid Fitting: Fitting Rationale and Pilot Evaluation
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 10-21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010002 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1318
Abstract
Background—The clinical characterization of hearing deficits for hearing-aid fitting purposes is typically based on the pure-tone audiogram only. In a previous study, a group of hearing-impaired listeners completed a comprehensive test battery that was designed to tap into different dimensions of hearing [...] Read more.
Background—The clinical characterization of hearing deficits for hearing-aid fitting purposes is typically based on the pure-tone audiogram only. In a previous study, a group of hearing-impaired listeners completed a comprehensive test battery that was designed to tap into different dimensions of hearing abilities. A data-driven analysis of the data yielded four clinically relevant patient sub-populations or “auditory profiles”. The purpose of the current study was to propose and pilot-test profile-based hearing-aid settings in order to explore their potential for providing more targeted hearing-aid treatment. Methods—Four candidate hearing-aid settings were developed and evaluated by a subset of the participants tested previously. The evaluation consisted of multi-comparison preference ratings that were carried out in realistic sound scenarios. Results—Listeners belonging to the different auditory profiles showed different patterns of preference for the tested hearing-aid settings that were largely consistent with the expectations. Conclusions—The results of this pilot evaluation support further investigations into stratified, profile-based hearing-aid fitting with wearable hearing aids. Full article
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Article
Long-Term Results of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy in Patients Who Failed to Complete the Program
Audiol. Res. 2021, 11(1), 1-9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/audiolres11010001 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 691
Abstract
Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the results of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) in patients who did not complete the program. Methods: We divided 90 patients who failed to complete the TRT program were into 3 groups: 36 patients who only completed the first [...] Read more.
Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the results of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) in patients who did not complete the program. Methods: We divided 90 patients who failed to complete the TRT program were into 3 groups: 36 patients who only completed the first phase of the TRT program (Missing group; M), 34 patients who attended counselling for less than 6 months (Noncompliant group; NC) and 20 patients who attended counselling for more than 6 months but did not complete the TRT program (Compliant group; C). The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), tinnitus Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) and a questionnaire regarding the reasons for dropout were obtained through a telephone survey. Results: Telephonic THI and VAS scores were significantly lower than the initial scores in the M and C groups but not in the NC group. Patients who were unsure about the effectiveness of TRT were prevalent in the NC group, and the poorest long-term THI results were registered in those patients. Conclusions: A fundamental cause of very poor TRT results was when patients were unsure about TRT. On the other hand, a single counselling session could be effective in reducing tinnitus annoyance in patients who accepted the TRT approach and trusted its efficacy. Full article
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