The acceptable noise level (ANL) test is used for quantification of the amount of background noise subjects accept when listening to speech. This study investigates Danish hearing-aid users' ANL performance using Danish and non-semantic speech signals, the repeatability of ANL, and the association between ANL and outcome of the international outcome inventory for hearing aids (IOI-HA).
ANL was measured in three conditions in both ears at two test sessions. Subjects completed the IOI-HA and the ANL questionnaire.
Sixty-three Danish hearing-aid users; fifty-seven subjects were full time users and 6 were part time/non users of hearing aids according to the ANL questionnaire.
ANLs were similar to results with American English speech material. The coefficient of repeatability (CR) was 6.5-8.8 dB. IOI-HA scores were not associated to ANL.
Danish and non-semantic ANL versions yield results similar to the American English version. The magnitude of the CR indicates that ANL with Danish and non-semantic speech materials is not suitable for prediction of individual patterns of future hearing-aid use or evaluation of individual benefit from hearing-aid features. The ANL with Danish and non-semantic speech materials is not related to IOI-HA outcome.
The acceptable noise level (ANL) is used to quantify the amount of background noise that subjects can accept while listening to speech, and is suggested for prediction of individual hearing-aid use. The aim of this study was to assess the repeatability of the ANL measured in normal-hearing subjects using running Danish and non-semantic speech materials as stimuli and modulated speech-spectrum and multi-talker babble noises as competing stimuli.
ANL was measured in both ears at two test sessions separated by a period ranging from 12 to 77 days. At each session the measurements at the first and the second ear were separated in time by 15-30 minutes. Bland-Altman plots and calculation of the coefficient of repeatability (CR) were used to estimate the repeatability.
Thirty nine normal-hearing subjects.
The ANL CR was 6.0-8.9 dB for repeated tests separated by about 15-30 minutes and 7.2-10.2 dB for repeated tests separated by 12 days or more.
The ANL test has poor repeatability when assessed with Danish and non-semantic speech materials on normal-hearing subjects. The same CR among hearing-impaired subjects would imply too poor repeatability to predict individual patterns of future hearing-aid use.
Acceptable noise level (ANL) has been established as a method to quantify the acceptance of background noise while listening to speech presented at the most comfortable level. The aim of the present study was to generate Danish, Swedish, and a non-semantic version of the ANL test and investigate normal-hearing Danish and Swedish subjects' performance on these tests.
ANL was measured using Danish and Swedish running speech with two different noises: Speech-weighted amplitude-modulated noise, and multitalker speech babble. ANL was also measured using the non-semantic international speech test signal (ISTS) as speech signal together with the speech-weighted amplitude-modulated noise. The latter condition was identical in both populations.
Forty Danish and 40 Swedish normal-hearing subjects.
In both populations ANL results were similar to previously reported results from American studies. Generally, significant differences were seen between test conditions using different types of noise within ears in each population. Significant differences were seen for ANL across populations, also when the non-semantic ISTS was used as speech signal.
The present findings indicate that there are extrinsic factors, such as instructions, affecting the ANL results.
The acceptable noise level (ANL) test is a method for quantifying the amount of background noise that subjects accept when listening to speech. Large variations in ANL have been seen between normal-hearing subjects and between studies of normal-hearing subjects, but few explanatory variables have been identified.
To explore a possible relationship between a Swedish version of the ANL test, working memory capacity (WMC), and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs).
ANL, WMC, and AEP were tested in a counterbalanced order across subjects.
Twenty-one normal-hearing subjects participated in the study (14 females and 7 males; aged 20-39 yr with an average of 25.7 yr).
Reported data consists of age, pure-tone average (PTA), most comfortable level (MCL), background noise level (BNL), ANL (i.e., MCL - BNL), AEP latencies, AEP amplitudes, and WMC. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was calculated between the collected variables to investigate associations. A principal component analysis (PCA) with Varimax rotation was conducted on the collected variables to explore underlying factors and estimate interactions between the tested variables. Subjects were also pooled into two groups depending on their results on the WMC test, one group with a score lower than the average and one with a score higher than the average. Comparisons between these two groups were made using the Mann-Whitney U-test with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.
A negative association was found between ANL and WMC but not between AEP and ANL or WMC. Furthermore, ANL is derived from MCL and BNL, and a significant positive association was found between BNL and WMC. However, no significant associations were seen between AEP latencies and amplitudes and the demographic variables, MCL, and BNL. The PCA identified two underlying factors: One that contained MCL, BNL, ANL, and WMC and another that contained latency for wave Na and amplitudes for waves V and Na-Pa. Using the variables in the first factor, the findings were further explored by pooling the subjects into two groups according to their WMC (WMClow and WMChigh). It was found that the WMClow had significantly poorer BNL than the WMChigh.
The findings suggest that there is a strong relationship between BNL and WMC, while the association between MCL, ANL, and WMC seems less clear-cut.
A unique Institute of Railway Hygiene was created 70 years ago in Russia, one of the major railway countries in the world. Since then the Institute's staffers have carried out huge work on improvement of railway workers' health, prevention of their exposure to noise, unfavorable microclimate, vibration and other occupational hazards. Significant contribution into the world occupational hygiene was made by such Institute's professionals as S.F. Kazansky, P.I. Nikitin, A.M. Volkov and others.
It is suggested that, within the same energy level, an impulse noise is more hazardous to hearing than a permanent noise. To justify this hypothesis, a study was performed with groups of wood-cutters and shipyard workers to investigate different characteristics of noise load (noise levels, noise impulsivity from the outside and under the ear-flaps, noise emission levels with regard to the length of work and using ear-flaps), and hearing losses (both real and forecasted on the Robinson model). To avoid individual factors, a computerized assessment of 38 pairs of workers from both teams was performed (with regard to similar noise emission levels, diastolic pressures, smoking habits, their military service backgrounds as to the service in heavy artillery units, absence of otic diseases, low consumption of salicylates). The results showed that, within the same energy level, the noise in the shipyard was three times as impulsive and more otic disorders inducing than the noise in the wood-cutters' working conditions.
Aquatically breeding harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) males use underwater vocalizations during the breeding season to establish underwater territories, defend territories against intruder males, and possibly to attract females. Vessel noise overlaps in frequency with these vocalizations and could negatively impact breeding success by limiting communication space. In this study, we investigated whether harbour seals employed anti-masking strategies to maintain communication in the presence of vessel noise in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Harbour seals in this location did not sufficiently adjust source levels or acoustic parameters of vocalizations to compensate for acoustic masking. Instead, for every 1 dB increase in ambient noise, signal excess decreased by 0.84 dB, indicating a reduction in communication space when vessels passed. We suggest that harbour seals may already be acoustically advertising at or near a biologically maximal sound level and therefore lack the ability to increase call amplitude to adjust to changes in their acoustic environment. This may have significant implications for this aquatically breeding pinniped, particularly for populations in high noise regions.
BACKGROUND: Stress, strain, and fatigue at the workplace have previously not been studied in relation to acoustic conditions. AIMS: To examine the influence of different acoustic conditions on the work environment and the staff in a coronary critical care unit (CCU). METHOD: Psychosocial work environment data from start and end of each individual shift were obtained from three shifts (morning, afternoon, and night) for a one-week baseline period and for two four-week periods during which either sound reflecting or sound absorbing tiles were installed. RESULTS: Reverberation times and speech intelligibility improved during the study period when the ceiling tiles were changed from sound reflecting tiles to sound absorbing ones of identical appearance. Improved acoustics positively affected the work environment; the afternoon shift staff experienced significantly lower work demands and reported less pressure and strain. CONCLUSIONS: Important gains in the psychosocial work environment of healthcare can be achieved by improving room acoustics. The study points to the importance of further research on possible effects of acoustics in healthcare on staff turnover, quality of patient care, and medical errors.