To determine whether Desired Sensation Level (DSL) v5 Noise is a viable hearing instrument prescriptive algorithm for children, in comparison with DSL v5 Quiet. In particular, the authors compared children’s performance on measures of consonant recognition in quiet, sentence recognition in noise, and loudness perception when fitted with DSL v5 Quiet and Noise.
Eleven children (ages 8 to 17 years) with stable, congenital sensorineural hearing losses participated in the study. Participants were fitted bilaterally to DSL v5 prescriptions with behind-the-ear hearing instruments. The order of prescription was counterbalanced across participants. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare performance between prescriptions.
Use of the Noise prescription resulted in a significant decrease in consonant perception in Quiet with low-level input, but no difference with average-level input. There was no significant difference in sentence-in-noise recognition between the two prescriptions. Loudness ratings for input levels above 72 dB SPL were significantly lower with the noise prescription.
Average-level consonant recognition in quiet was preserved and aversive loudness was alleviated by the Noise prescription relative to the quiet prescription, which suggests that the DSL v5 Noise prescription may be an effective approach to managing the nonquiet listening needs of children with hearing loss.