Effective identification of functional hearing loss using behavioral threshold measures

Robert S. Schlauch, Tess K. Koerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Four functional hearing loss protocols were evaluated. Method: For each protocol, 30 participants feigned a hearing loss first on an audiogram and then for a screening test that began a threshold search from extreme levels (–10 or 90 dB HL). Two-tone and 3-tone protocols compared thresholds for ascending and descending tones for 2 (0.5 and 1.0 kHz) and 3 (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 kHz) frequencies, respectively. A noiseband protocol compared an ascending noise-band threshold with that for 2 descending tones (0.5 and 1.0 kHz). A spondee protocol compared an ascending spondee threshold with that for 2 descending tones (0.5 and 1.0 kHz). These measures were repeated without the participants feigning losses. Results: With nonfeigning participants, ascending and descending threshold differences were minimal for all protocols. When the participants feigned a loss, the spondee protocol produced the largest average threshold difference (30.8 dB), whereas the other protocols produced smaller differences (19.6–22.2 dB). Conclusions: Using both the screening test and a comparison of the initial audiogram with the screening test, the spondee and 3-tone protocols resulted in 100% true positives and 0% false positives for functional hearing loss. Either of these protocols could be used clinically or in occupational hearing conservation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-465
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

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