ORIGINAL ARTICLE
BENEFIT FROM AN AUDIO PROCESSOR UPGRADE IN EXPERIENCED USERS OF AN ACTIVE MIDDLE EAR IMPLANT: SPEECH UNDERSTANDING IN NOISE AND SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT
Guido Mühlmeier 1, A-F  
,   Eberhard Aigner 2, B,D,   Iris Brumma 2, B,D,   Alexander Schlegel 2, B,D,   Matthias Tisch 1, A,D-F
 
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1
Clinic- und Polyclinic for Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Military Hospital Ulm, Germany
2
Iffland Hearing GmbH & Co KG, Ulm, Germany
A - Research concept and design; B - Collection and/or assembly of data; C - Data analysis and interpretation; D - Writing the article; E - Critical revision of the article; F - Final approval of article;
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Guido Mühlmeier   

Guido Muehlmeier, Dr. med.Klinik- und Poliklinik für HNOHeilkunde, Kopf- und Halschirurgie Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Ulm Oberer Eselsberg 40 89081 Ulm Germany E-mail: gmhno@t-online.de Tel.: +49 731 1710 1501 Fax: +49 731 1710 1530
Publication date: 2020-04-09
 
J Hear Sci 2018;8(3):27–34
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Microphone directionality plays an important role in speech understanding in challenging acoustic environments. A new audio processor (AP) from Med-El, known as Samba, automatically detects and selects optimal settings depending on the listening situation. This clinical investigation evaluated speech understanding in noise and subjective benefit of an AP upgrade from the prior Amadé to the new Samba.

Material and Methods:
Fourteen Vibrant Soundbridge users with at least 3 months experience with the Amadé AP received the new Samba AP. Speech recognition in quiet was measured using the Freiburger monosyllable test. Speech understanding in noise was assessed using the Oldenburger sentence test. Subjective benefit was determined with the Hearing Device Satisfaction Scale and the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit.

Results:
No differences were detected in pure tone audiometry or speech recognition in quiet between the two audio processors. However, the new Samba AP performed significantly better in challenging noise situations: when speech came from the front and noise from the back, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) improved by 3.4 dB with the automatic mode of the Samba AP compared to the Amadé AP. When the sources of speech and noise were switched, a significant improvement of 1.8 dB SNR was observed. Based on the two questionnaires, subjective benefit in daily life and device satisfaction were comparable for the two APs.

Conclusions:
Due to its new features, the Samba AP gave significantly better results in challenging acoustical test situations. Even when the direction of background noise changed, the Samba AP performed better due to the new built-in adaptive directional microphones.

 
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