Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





Brett A. Martin

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology


This study examined speech perception abilities in young adults (18-24 years) who reported having difficulty perceiving speech in the presence of background noise despite clinically-normal hearing. The purpose of this study was to compare the audiometric profile of young adults with and without perceived difficulty with speech perception in noise. The Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale (SSQ) was administered to obtain a measure of how participants rate their speech perception in noise under different listening conditions. Audiometric tests included standard audiometric thresholds (250-8000 Hz), high frequency pure tone thresholds (9000-12,500 Hz), QuickSIN, distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), and auditory brainstem responses (ABR) in 13 participants (5 with reported difficulty in noise & 8 controls). Participants who reported difficulty in noise rated their speech perception in noise performance as poorer on the SSQ, performed within normal limits but poorer on the QuickSIN, and DPOAE amplitudes were significantly lower at 1001 Hz and 1501 Hz compared to those not reporting difficulty in noise. Participants who reported no difficulty in noise had poorer high frequency thresholds and lower wave V amplitude in the right ear compared to the left ear, but those reporting difficulty in noise did not show these right-left asymmetries. There were no significant differences between groups for pure tone thresholds (standard and high frequency), speech recognition testing, immittance, DPOAE signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns) or ABR absolute latencies and interpeak latencies. These results may suggest the presence of a sub-clinical cochlear deficit in listeners who report difficulty in noise. These listeners show poorer performance in noise, lower DPOAE amplitudes and less right-left asymmetry in the high frequency thresholds and for ABR wave V amplitude.