J Am Acad Audiol 2020; 31(07): 513-520
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.19028
Research Article

Improving Acceptance of Background Noise with Sound Enrichment

Susan Gordon-Hickey
1  University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
Shelby Davis
1  University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
Leah Lewis
1  University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
James Van Haneghan
1  University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
› Author Affiliations


Background Acceptance of background noise serves as a means to predict likelihood of hearing aid success. Individuals that are able to accept background noise are more likely to be successful with hearing aids.

Purpose The aim of the study was to assess the impact of sound enrichment on the acceptable noise level (ANL).

Study Sample Nineteen young adult participants served as listeners. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental or control group.

Research Design An experimental design with random assignment to experimental or control group was used.

Data Collection and Analysis One group used sound enrichment procedures for 2 weeks, whereas the other group served as a control group. Sound enrichment procedures required that participants add low-level background sound to any quiet environment encountered during the study. Most comfortable listening level (MCL) and background noise level (BNL) were measured at three sessions, each 1 week apart (baseline, after 1 week of treatment, and after 2 weeks of treatment).

Results Analytical statistics revealed that ANL improved for the sound enrichment group but remained the same for the control group. For both groups, there was no significant change in MCL across sessions. However, for the experimental group, BNL improved (increased) over the 2-week period while using sound enrichment.

Conclusions Results of this study indicate that ANL can be improved with the use of sound enrichment procedures over a 2-week period. Future work should examine the use of sound enrichment procedures for older adults with hearing loss.

Publication History

Publication Date:
02 September 2020 (online)

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