What can this test conclude?
The recently published article presents the results from a recent study where the RRT was performed by normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners.
Data shows that lowering the SNR affects the listeners’ repeat and recall scores and listening effort negatively. It also shows how hearing loss leads to lower repeat scores, but not necessarily lower recall scores, meaning that hearing-impaired participants were able to repeat fewer words than normal-hearing listeners, but they could still recall the same share of the words as the normal-hearing listeners.
In fact, at the most favourable SNRs, hearing-impaired listeners had higher recall scores than normal-hearing listeners for sentences with high-context cues
. This suggests that hearing-impaired people may use some rehearsal strategies in their everyday life, and that they use context much more actively than normal-hearing listeners to guess what’s being said.
There were significant correlations between repeat and recall scores and scores from dedicated speech-intelligibility and working-memory tests. This suggests that the RRT is a valid tool to assess both dimensions of speech understanding.
How does it benefit my practise?
By using the new RRT, hearing care professionals can obtain a more accurate and true-to-life profile
of the individual hearing-aid user, including how they cope with speech in noise and whether any speech in noise issues are because of cognitive challenges. This is handy because many clients are likely to be older adults that may experience cognitive decline.
The RRT can help you better understand the underlying causes of your client’s speech-in-noise difficulties. That includes whether those difficulties reflect issues with audibility, issues with the encoding, processing, and storing of speech information – or general issues with staying motivated to communicate in noisy situations.
The profile can be compared with the average profile of normal-hearing people or the profile of people with the same audiometric profile. The RRT may suggest individual changes both for the fitting and in your counselling. The researchers at ORCA in the U.S. are currently working to define the specific fitting and counselling strategies that best match different hearing profiles.
How does it benefit the hearing aid industry?
From a research perspective, the new RRT helps us compare different hearing solutions while taking different aspects of hearing into account. Two different hearing solutions
may offer the same repeat performance, but one solution may offer better recall performance than the other. And in that case, users won’t need to spend as much cognitive energy when trying to understand speech. Want to learn more?Read the full study article