Anna K. Nabelek
Igor V. Nabelek
Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0740
Speech perception of people with hearing impairment is negatively affected to a greater degree by background noise and reverberation than the speech perception of people with normal hearing. As a consequence, rooms which have adequate acoustics for normal-hearing people might be too noisy or too reverberant for hearing-impaired users. Causes of perceptual difficulties of hearing-impaired listeners and data comparing effects of noise and reverberation on speech perception of normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners will be presented. The number of people with hearing loss grows with age. Two major causes are noise exposure and aging processes. People with hearing loss can obtain improvement in speech communication with hearing aids but poor room acoustics can limit hearing benefits and cause hearing aid rejection. Advantages of acoustical modifications, preferential sitting, and use of amplification in small rooms will be discussed. Listening systems such as induction loops, FM, and infrared will be considered as alternatives or additions to acoustical modifications of large rooms. The listening systems can be utilized by hearing aid users and by people who do not use hearing aids, even those with normal hearing.