P36Session 2 (Friday 13 January 2023, 09:00-11:00)The relationship between subjective noise sensitivity and intelligibility of speech in noise
Background: It is known that noise may produce auditory and non-auditory health problems. Research has demonstrated that noise-related non-auditory health problems are diverse in relation to individuals’ noise sensitivity. However, the relationship between subjective noise sensitivity and speech intelligibility in noise has not been investigated previously. In the literature, the “Weinstein Noise Sensitivity Scale” (WGHO) is the most common scale used for the evaluation of subjective noise sensitivity, and has been adapted for Turkish listeners (Tr-WGHO). Speech intelligibility in noise has been subject to many studies covering normal hearing and hearing-impaired people, and the “Hearing in Noise Test” (HINT) has been widely used in this context and adapted to Turkish.
Rationale: Our purpose in this study was to investigate the relationship between subjective noise sensitivity and HINT scores, and pure tone and speech audiometry.
Method: Tr-WGHO and Tr-HINT were tested in 92 (43 men and 49 women) subjects with normal hearing, aged between 21-50 years. Tr- WGHO scores were divided into tertile subgroups, with the upper 1/3 being "sensitive" and lower 1/3 being "non-sensitive" to noise.
Results: The average scores of sensitive and non-sensitive subgroups were 73.20 ±6.28 and 106.43 ±6.71. The upper cut-off for the non-sensitive subgroup was 82 and the lower cut-off for the sensitive group 96. Pure-tone and speech audiometry was not correlated with Tr-WGHO scores and there were no subgroup differences. However, Tr-HINT scores (with exception of HS which was measured in silence) were significantly lower in the sensitive subgroup compared with the non-sensitive group in all presentation situations; with noise presented from the front, right and left, and their compound (HB). Furthermore, TR-WGHO and Tr-HINT scores were negatively correlated for all interfering noise situations. There were no effects of sex, age and education, nor the presence of vestibular problems, on noise sensitivity. However, there was a significantly higher proportion of subjects with tinnitus in the sensitive subgroup.
Conclusions: This is the first study reporting the relationship between noise sensitivity and speech intelligibility in noise in the Turkish and English literature. We recommend that the results of speech tests in noise should be accompanied by measurements of noise sensitivity.