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Published on November 17th, 2016

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The 2016 World Congress of Audiology Awards: Read the Abstracts

These awards were presented on September 21, 2016 as part of the World Congress of Audiology, an international conference co-organized by SAC and the Canadian Academy of Audiology. Scroll down to read the award-winning abstracts. Congratulations to the winners!

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OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: Adaptive scaling of listening effort
OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: An alternative grading system for ototoxicity in adults: Towards a uniform international system for grading ototoxicity
OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: Problems Associated with Hearing Aid Use: A Qualitative Investigation
OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: Does musical training protect noise-exposed musicians from the consequences of ‘hidden hearing loss’
OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: Perceived continuity of interrupted sounds by cochlear implant listeners
OUTSTANDING STUDENT POSTERS AWARD: A systematic assessment of the auditory system following transient sound deprivation and enrichment
OUTSTANDING STUDENT PODIUM PAPERS AWARD: Spatial hearing improvement and long-term suppressive effect on tinnitus after cochlear implantation in profoundly single-sided-deaf patients
OUTSTANDING STUDENT PODIUM PAPERS AWARD: Music Training Improves Music Perception in Children Using Bilateral Cochlear Implants or Bimodal Devices
OUTSTANDING STUDENT PRESENTATION AWARD: The Evaluation of a New Outcome Measure to Assess Social Participation in Adults with Mild-Moderate Hearing Loss

Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: Master’s Student

Winner: Melanie Krueger

Title of Abstract: Adaptive scaling of listening effort

Authors and Affiliations: Melanie Krueger1, 4, 2, Michael Schulte1, 2, Thomas Brand3, 2, Kirsten C. Wagener1, 2, Markus Meis1, 2, Inga Holube4, 2
1. Hörzentrum Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany, 2. Cluster of Excellence Hearing4All, Oldenburg, Germany, 3. Medizinische Physik, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany, 4. Institute of Hearing Technology and Audiology, Jade University of Applied Sciences, Oldenburg, Germany

Abstract: Listening effort (LE) can be determined quickly and flexibly using subjective methods like categorical scaling or questionnaires. However, scaling results might be affected, for instance, by the range of signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) of the stimuli. Therefore, an adaptive scaling method for subjective LE ratings was developed. The method is based on the adaptive categorical loudness scaling (ACALOS) procedure. Using a 14-step scale from “effortless” to “extreme effort”, the SNR is varied adaptively adjusting individual parameter range (e.g. SNR) to the individual ratings. The new procedure (OLERA: Oldenburg Listening Effort Rating) was evaluated with young subjects with normal hearing and elderly subjects with impaired hearing (with and without hearing aids) by presenting sentences of the Oldenburg sentence test in four different background noises. As a comparison, speech intelligibility measurements were performed using the same conditions. The results showed that the procedure adjusted properly to different listening conditions and that OLERA detected a benefit in LE due to hearing aid provision in a range of SNRs where speech intelligibility scores are already saturated at 100%. The method is easy to use, the measurement time is similar to common speech intelligibility tests, and it is suitable for laboratory studies and hearing aid adjustments.


Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: AuD Student

Winner: Lauren Kay Dillard

Title of Abstract: An alternative grading system for ototoxicity in adults: Towards a uniform international system for grading ototoxicity

Authors and Affiliations: Lauren Kay Dillard1, Lebogang Ramma2
1. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA, 2. University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract: Ototoxicity is a common adverse event reported following treatment with various compounds used to treat disease. Over the years, several criteria have been developed to classify hearing loss severity and correlate hearing loss to functional outcomes; some criteria use a change in hearing thresholds from baseline while others use absolute hearing levels. Even with multiple grading systems published in the literature, there is not currently an ototoxicity grading system that is applicable to be used across patient populations and institutions.

This research is a response to the lack of a universal ototoxicity grading scale, and proposes an alternative, more clinically relevant ototoxicity grading system that is most appropriate to be used across patient populations and institutions. The University of Cape Town (UCT) grading system seeks to overcome the limitations associated with existing criteria, and does so by identifying ototoxicity-induced hearing loss at the soonest possible opportunity during treatment, and this early identification to guide decisions regarding audiological intervention. This study aims to assess the feasibility of using the proposed grading system, and compares the new criteria to existing ototoxicity criteria for adults.


Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: PhD

Winner: Rebecca Jane Bennet

Title of Abstract: Problems Associated with Hearing Aid Use: A Qualitative Investigation

Authors and Affiliations: Rebecca Jane Bennett1, 3, Ariane Laplante-Levesque2, Robert Eikelboom1, 3

1. Ear Science Institute Australia, Subiaco, WA, Australia, 2. Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark, 3. University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA, Australia

Abstract:
Background: Hearing aid related problems are reported by hearing aid owners as the leading cause for low hearing aid use and satisfaction.

Method: 23 hearing aid owners and 23 hearing aid dispensing clinicians participated by generating, sorting and rating statements regarding the PROBLEMS associated with hearing aid use and the RESPONSES by hearing aid owners in order to overcome these problems. Concept mapping techniques were employed to identify key themes.

Results: Participants identified four key concepts regarding hearing aid PROBLEMS: 1) Hearing aid management; 2) Hearing aid sound quality and performance; 3) Expectations and reluctance; and 4) Insufficient information and training. While hearing aid owners and clinicians generally agreed on the key themes derived, the clinician group reported that the problems identified have a greater negative impact on hearing aid success than the hearing aid owner group reported.

Participants identified four key concepts regarding hearing aid owners RESPONSES to these problems: 1) Seeking help; 2) Self-motivated and persistent; 3) Giving up – avoiding or ignoring the problem; and 4) Emotional setbacks.

Conclusions: Results indicate the key causes of hearing aid problems and suggest the possibility of improving the hearing aid experiences through comprehensive training, education and support.


Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: PhD

Winner: Ingrid Yeend

Title of Abstract: Does musical training protect noise-exposed musicians from the consequences of ‘hidden hearing loss’

Authors and Affiliations: Ingrid Yeend1, Elizabeth Beach1, 3, Mridula Sharma2, 3, Jermy Pang1, Harvey Dillon1, 3
1. National Acoustic Laboratories, Australian Hearing, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2. Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 3. The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract:
Purpose:
Hidden hearing loss (HHL) is a term used to describe noise-induced cochlear neuropathy involving the selective loss of high-threshold auditory nerve fibres without affecting auditory thresholds, but resulting in perceptual deficits such as difficulty understanding speech in background noise. This study investigates whether musical training, a complex auditory process, allows noise-exposed musicians to understand speech in noise better than non-musicians with similar levels of noise exposure.

Methods: A comprehensive test battery comprising an online survey, audiology, and auditory processing tests plus a range of cognitive measures was implemented to investigate the interactive effects of noise and music training on auditory abilities in a large group of adults, aged 30-55 years with clinically normal thresholds.

Results: Results suggest that despite their exposure to noise, musicians have enhanced auditory processing abilities (sharper temporal and spectral encoding of sound) and outperform non-musicians on a number of auditory tasks. Their performance on cognitive measures (attention and working memory) also appears to be particularly robust.

Conclusions: This work has potential clinical relevance for designing rehabilitation and training programs that focus on developing music-related skills, which could be used to assist people in the wider population presenting with significant difficulty hearing in background noise.


Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: Junior Researcher

Winner: Halen Panchyk

Title of Abstract: Perceived continuity of interrupted sounds by cochlear implant listeners

Authors and Affiliations: Halen Panchyk6, Sipke Pijl1, Nicholas R. Haywood2, Andrew Vandali3, Brian D. Westerberg4, 5, Cindy Gustin1, Valter Ciocca1
1. University of British Columbia/Audiology and Speeech Sciences, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2. Macquarie University/Linguistics, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 3. University of Melbourne/Audiology and Speech Pathology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 4. University of British Columbia/Surgery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 5. Providence Health Care/Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 6. Saskatoon Health Region/The Hearing Aid Plan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Abstract: Listeners with normal hearing are able to perceptually restore missing portions of sounds that are either masked or replaced by a louder masker (“auditory continuity”). This phenomenon is generally interpreted as a perceptual compensation for the effects of masking. This study explored the perception of auditory continuity by cochlear implant (CI) users. Two groups of listeners (10 CI users and 10 control listeners with normal-hearing) participated in a yes-no task in which they judged the perceived continuity of a 49-dBA pure tone that was interrupted by a narrow-band noise (masker) centered at the frequency of the pure tone. The masker was presented at 0 (no masker), 40, 49, or 55 dBA. CI listeners perceived auditory continuity at lower levels of the masker than control listeners. A second experiment employed a 2AFC task to investigate simultaneous masking with the same stimuli as in the continuity experiment. CI listeners showed larger amounts of masking than the control listeners at the same masker levels. Recognizing speech in the presence of noise presents a serious challenge for most CI users. The larger amounts of masking observed for the CI group are consistent with the poor recognition of speech in noise by these listeners.


Outstanding Student Posters Award

Category: Junior Researcher

Winner: Philippe Fournier

Title of Abstract: A systematic assessment of the auditory system following transient sound deprivation and enrichment

Authors and Affiliations: Philippe Fournier1, 2, 3, Alexandre Lehmann4, 2, 3, Marc Schoenwiesner2, 3, Sylvie Hébert2, 3
1. Université d’Aix-Marseille, Marseille, France, 2. Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada, 3. International Laboratory for Research on Brain, Music, and Sound (BRAMS), Montréal, QC, Canada, 4. McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada

Abstract:
Purpose
: The relationship between intensity and loudness can be modified by acoustic conditions: Sound sensitivity increases after short-term sound deprivation whereas it decreases after sound enrichment. The physiological correlates of those loudness modulations are still unknown.

Methods: Normal hearing adults were assigned to either the Earplug (n=16) or Noise generator group (n=15). Bilateral custom-fit musicians’ earplugs and around-the-ear white noise generators produced around 20 dB of sound attenuation and stimulation, respectively. All participants were tested before and after seven days of continuous use of sound devices. Hearing assessment included loudness growth functions (4 kHz), distortion product growth (4 kHz), stapedial reflex thresholds (1, 2, 4 kHz) and auditory brainstem response (clicks).

Results: Significant differences for loudness growth functions were found before and after deprivation for the Earplugs group (p=.039) but not for the Noise generator group. The Earplug group was ~3 dB more sensitive for all loudness categories. In contrast, there were no significant differences for distortion product growth, stapedial reflex thresholds and auditory brainstem responses in either group.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that sensitivity is increased after sound deprivation but does not decrease after sound enrichment. The physiological correlate of the loudness modulation does not have a peripheral origin.


Outstanding Student Podium Papers Award

Winner: Griet Mertens

Title of Abstract: Spatial hearing improvement and long-term suppressive effect on tinnitus after cochlear implantation in profoundly single-sided-deaf patients

Authors and Affiliations: Griet Mertens1, 2, Paul Van de Heyning1, 2, Marc De Bodt1, 2
1. Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium, 2. University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract:
Objectives:
The study aims to assess the long-term effects of cochlear implantation on speech perception in noise, sound localization and tinnitus relief in SSD patients.

Methods and subjects: 30 patients, 18 with normal contralateral hearing and 12 patients with a contralateral hearing aid, suffering from SSD received a MED-EL CI. All subjects initially rated their tinnitus loudness ≥6 out of 10 on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Pre -and long-term postoperative tinnitus assessment included the Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ) and tinnitus loudness estimation by means of a VAS and psychoacoustic measurements yearly up to 8 years (n=10). Spatial speech in noise tests and sound localization tests were performed to detect binaural and bilateral effects of the CI.

Results: The VAS and TQ showed a significant tinnitus relief that remained stable over 10 years. Speech reception in noise and sound localization improved significantly after cochlear implantation.

Conclusions: CI can significantly improve speech perception in noise and restore binaural hearing in SSD. Several years of CI use is necessary to fully take advantage of binaural cues available from the CI in these patients. The accompanied tinnitus relief appears to be stable over 10 years follow-up.


Outstanding Student Podium Papers Award

Winner: Melissa J. Polonenko

Title of Abstract: Music Training Improves Music Perception in Children Using Bilateral Cochlear Implants or Bimodal Devices

Authors and Affiliations: Melissa J Polonenko1, Sara Giannantonio3, Blake C Papsin1, Karen A Gordon1
1. The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2. The University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 3. Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, Rome, Italy

Abstract:
Purpose:
Determine if music training and residual hearing improve perception of music by cochlear implant children.

Methods: Fifty children aged 6.5-18.0 years participated in this study; 25 had musical training (1-10yrs). Sixteen children had normal hearing, 26 used bilateral cochlear implants, and 8 used an implant and contralateral hearing aid (bimodal users). Children’s ability to differentiate music characteristics was evaluated using the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Musical Ability and measured with an ipad application. Response accuracy and reaction time (RT) were analyzed.

Results: Normal hearing children distinguished different characteristics of music with greater accuracy (F(1,46)=36.8,p<0.001) and faster RT (F(1,46)=15.7,p<0.001) than implant children. Although bimodal and bilateral implant users performed similarly (accuracy: 1.6 ± 4.2%,p=1.0; RT: -0.2 ± 0.4s,p=1.0), bimodal user RTs also resembled those of normal hearing peers (p>0.05). Music group affected accuracy (F(1,46)=4.4, p=0.04) but not RT (F(1,46)=3.3, p=0.07), although both measures improved with years of musical training for each subscale (R>0.34, p<0.05). RT also decreased with better residual hearing for the scale subtest (R=0.37,p=0.03).

Conclusions: Musical training can help children using bilateral cochlear implants or bimodal devices perceive cues important to differentiating musical excerpts more quickly.


Outstanding Student Presentation Award

Winner: Eithne Heffernan

Title of Abstract: The Evaluation of a New Outcome Measure to Assess Social Participation in Adults with Mild-Moderate Hearing Loss

Authors and Affiliations: Eithne Heffernan1, 4, Johanna Barry2, Neil Coulson3, Helen Henshaw1, 4, David Maidment1, 4, Melanie Ferguson1, 4
1. National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 2. Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 3. Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 4. Otology and Hearing Group, Division of Clinical Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Abstract:
Purpose:
This research aimed to evaluate a self-report outcome measure that had been previously designed via qualitative research to assess social participation in adults with mild-moderate hearing loss (MMHL).

Methods: Study 1 evaluated the relevance and clarity of the measure. An international expert panel (N=20) used a four-point scale to rate the relevance (1=not relevant, 4=relevant) and clarity (1=not clear, 4=clear) of each item. They also provided qualitative feedback. Additionally, adults with MMHL (N=14) participated in cognitive interviews to identify any difficulties they had in completing the measure. Study 2 assessed the psychometric properties of the measure by applying Rasch analysis, a modern psychometric technique, to data collected from 280 adults with MMHL.

Results: Study 1: the expert panel rated most items as relevant (M=3.75, SD=0.6) and clear (M=3.65, SD=0.6). This was supported by the cognitive interview findings. However, the response scale required adjustment for clarity. Study 2: the measure had good internal consistency reliability and consisted of two distinct subscales, interpreted as (1) social perceptions and (2) social behaviours.

Conclusion: This research demonstrates the value of engaging key stakeholders and also utilising modern psychometric approaches in the development of an outcome measure for use in research and clinical practice.




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