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Digits in noise testing in a multilingual sample of Asian adults

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-28, 00:10 authored by Jeremy Chee, Robert H. Eikelboom, Cas Smits, Shiou Liang Wee, Tze Pin Ng, Rebecca L. Heywood

Objective: Appropriate speech-in noise assessment is challenging in multilingual populations. This study

aimed to assess whether first preferred language affected performance on an English Digits-in-noise (DIN)

test in the local Asian multilingual population, controlling for hearing threshold, age, sex, English fluency

and educational status. A secondary aim was to determine the association between DIN test scores and

hearing thresholds.

Design: English digit-triplets in noise testing and pure-tone audiometry were conducted. Multiple regression

analysis was performed with DIN scores and hearing thresholds as dependent variables. Correlation

analysis was performed between DIN-SRT and hearing thresholds.

Study sample: 165 subjects from the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study, a population-based longitudinal

study of community-dwellers over 55 years of age.

Results: Mean DIN speech reception threshold (DIN-SRT) was  5.7 dB SNR (SD 3.6; range 6.7 to  11.2).

Better ear pure tone average and English fluency were significantly associated with DIN-SRT.

Conclusions: DIN performance was independent of first preferred language in a multilingual ageing

Singaporean population after adjusting for age, gender and education. Those with poorer English fluency

had a significantly lower DIN-SRT score. The DIN test has the potential to provide a quick, uniform

method of testing speech in noise in this multilingual population.


JurongHealth Research & Development Fund (16-49)


Journal/Conference/Book title

International Journal of Audiology

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