Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
One of the main challenges faced by people with hearing loss is understanding speech in noisy environments. Hearing aids can be of some benefit in these situations, but in isolation they are unable to fully overcome the problem. If the hearing-impaired listener is unable to understand conversations in everyday listening environments they risk becoming socially withdrawn and isolated. Auditory training involves structured practice listening to a variety of stimuli and is gaining support as an alternative to hearing aids or a supplementary intervention. Many of the auditory training programs currently available are administered using a computer which may not be appropriate for many older hearing-impaired adults who do not have access to computers. There is therefore a need to develop a non-computerised auditory training intervention which can be delivered easily in the person's home. The aim of this study is to find out whether a new auditory training program, which involves having conversations in the presence of a competing speaker, improves speech perception in everyday challenging listening environments.
Who can participate?
Experienced adult hearing aid users
What does the study involve?
Participants complete a speech and cognition assessment and then undertake a four-week training program at home. They are randomly allocated to one of two training programs using a CD containing either silence (Group 1) or a person speaking (Group 2). Participants are required to play this CD while having a conversation with their communication partner. Each session lasts for 30 minutes and participants are asked to complete this five times per week for four weeks. Their speech in noise performance and cognitive abilities are then evaluated again.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
By taking part in the study participants may see an improvement in their understanding of speech in challenging listening environments. There are no significant risks to taking part as noise levels should not exceed maximum daily noise exposure limits.
Where is the study run from?
Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
November 2012 to October 2018
Who is funding the study?
British Society of Audiology (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Miss Stephanie Greer
Wrexham Maelor Hospital
+44 (0)1978 725685
Evaluation of live voice auditory training in a randomised controlled trial of existing hearing aid users
Live Voice Auditory Training RCT 1.1
The primary aim of this study is to explore whether novel auditory training intervention can improve speech intelligibility in noise for experienced hearing aid users. The primary research question is: Does repeated practice improve speech perception in everyday challenging listening environments for experienced adult hearing aid users?
North Wales REC (Central & East), 27/03/2014, ref: 14/WA/0089
Single-centre randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet
Participants are randomised to either experimental or control groups based on a dynamic adaptive allocation algorithm using stratification variables of age (less than 75 years: 75 years or older) and sex (Male:Female).
Allocation to one of two training programs: a CD containing either silence (Group 1) or a person speaking (Group 2). Participants are required to play this CD while having a conversation with their communication partner. Each session lasts for 30 minutes and participants are asked to complete this five times per week for four weeks.
Participants complete a baseline speech and cognition assessment and then after their four week training program their speech in noise performance and cognitive abilities are evaluated again.
Primary outcome measure
Speech in noise performance, measured using the signal to noise ratio loss on QuickSIN at baseline and after training has been completed
Secondary outcome measures
1. Subjective handicap assessed by Total, Social and Emotional scores from the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly Questionnaire and Glasgow disability measured at baseline and after training has been completed
2. Signal to noise threshold on the Modified Co-ordinate Response Measure measured at baseline and after training has been completed
3. Scores for words and numbers on the Dual Task of Listening and Memory measures, measured at baseline and after training has been completed
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Current hearing aid user
2. Four-frequency average hearing thresholds greater than 20dB HL
3. Need in their personal plan relating to improving speech-in-noise intelligibility
4. Regular communication partner who is willing to complete the training program with them
5. Fluent and comfortable conversing in English
6. No significant self-reported memory or neurological problems
7. Not colour blind
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Average hearing threshold within normal limits
2. No reported difficulties understanding speech in noise
3. Unable to complete a training program at home
4. Unable to attend Wrexham Audiology Service for required research appointments
5. Diagnosed or self reported memory or neurological problems
6. Unable to comfortably converse in English
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board
Wrexham Maelor Hospital Croesnewydd Road
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Research and Development Department
Holywell Community Hospital
+44 (0)1352 718382
British Society of Audiology
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
professional associations and societies
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Article in Audacity (British Society of Audiology magazine)
IPD sharing statement
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not expected to be made available. Patient identifiable information will be stored for 3-6 months and anonymised data will be stored for 5 years after the trial end date on a password protected departmental server.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not expected to be available
Basic results (scientific)