Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





Barbara E. Weinstein

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology


Over 23 million individuals in the United States have some degree of hearing loss but do not own hearing aids. Individuals may choose not to adopt hearing aid technology for an assortment of reasons, including the stigma associated with hearing aids, cost of the devices, or denying the effects of hearing loss. Prevalence of hearing aid usage remains low despite research indicating that untreated hearing loss is correlated with decreased quality of life and accelerated cognitive decline. In recent years, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) have entered the market as simple, low cost, discreet devices in attempt to reach non-users of amplification.

The purpose of this study was to determine if the Sound World Solutions CS50 PSAP affects speech understanding in noise in normal hearing adult listeners. Listening to speech in noise is difficult for a majority of those with hearing loss and an important situation the CS50 is marketed to help improve. Such claims, however, have not been substantiated. This study also examined the experience of these individuals with the CS50, including their attitudes on ease of use, comfort, and willingness to pay, via a brief questionnaire.

Results of this study indicated that there is no significant difference in the speech recognition in noise scores of normal hearing listeners when they are unaided and when they are aided monaurally with the CS50 device. Overall, individuals judged the ease of inserting/removing the device, changing the battery, and changing the program and volume to be good to very good. Physical comfort, appearance of the device, sound quality, and benefit to speech understanding in noise were judged to be fair. A majority of individuals were somewhat unwilling to spend $200-$300 on this device should they require amplification.

Lack of significance among speech in noise scores and fair judgments of many factors regarding the Sound World Solutions CS50 PSAP may have resulted from not truly assessing the device’s directional microphone and testing only normal hearing listeners who do not have as much need for an amplification device as an individual with hearing loss. Further testing on individuals with hearing loss may help determine of this device would benefit such a population.

Marisa Viets - Capstone Poster.pdf (1354 kB)
Capstone Project