Is auditory-visual integration a factor in hearing aid outcomes?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Aims: The first aim of this study was to begin to understand the relationships between hearing aid outcomes and the ability to integrate visual information with auditory information. No published studies have researched these relationships. Understanding these relationships may help in determining hearing aid candidacy or assist in determining the most appropriate rehabilitation pathways, including the provision of perceptual training to improve the use of visual information. The second aim of this study was to determine if the University of Canterbury Auditory-visual Matrix Sentence Test (UCAMST) could potentially replace the need for QuickSIN testing of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) performance loss. The third aim of this study was to provide practical usage evaluation to the developers of the UCAMST. Method: A group of 12 participants aged 65 to 86 years were tested for their ability to understand speech-in-noise in the auditory-alone, auditory-visual, and visual-alone conditions. Speech tests were administered using the UCAMST and QuickSIN test. Hearing aid outcomes were assessed using the International Outcomes Inventory for Hearing Aids (IOI-HA) questionnaire. The measured Auditory Visual Enhancement (AVE) for understanding speech-in-noise in the auditory-visual condition compared with the auditory-alone condition, was correlated with IOI-HA questionnaire responses. Measurements were also made for potential control covariates found in the literature. Results: All correlations between AVE and hearing aid outcomes were greater than zero (rs of 0.130 to 0.496) but did not meet the threshold of statistical significance (p < 0.05). Measurements for predictor, outcome, and covariate variables showed substantial agreement with results published in literature. UCAMST results had a significant correlation with QuickSIN test results. Conclusion: Findings from this study were inconclusive due to low statistical power. Further study into the relationships between AVE and hearing aid outcomes using larger groups of participants seems warranted. The UCAMST may be able to replace the need for QuickSIN testing, after confirmation from further studies using diverse demographic groups of participants.