Functional Listening Evaluation (FLE): Speech Material Effects in Children With Normal Hearing

Jeanne Dodd-Murphy, Michaela Ritter, Ed Baylor, Walter Murphy
Functional Listening Evaluation (FLE) performance was determined for 31 typically-developing children with normal hearing (7 to 10 years of age). Investigators sought to provide comparison data to help audiologists using the FLE to justify recommendations of hearing assistance technology and/or other accommodations for special school-age populations with normal hearing. The effect of speech materials (including live-voice versus recorded presentation mode) and scoring strategy was evaluated.
more » ... y was evaluated. Each child was tested in the auditory-only conditions of the FLE (Close/Quiet, Close/Noise, Far/Quiet, Far/Noise) using three different sets of speech stimuli: Recorded FLE using [HINT-C] Sentences (RS), HINT-C sentences presented via monitored live voice (LS), and Children's Nonsense Phrases presented via monitored live voice (LNP). Mean word-level scores collapsed across listening conditions were above 97 percent for all three speech materials. LS yielded significantly higher mean performance than either RS or LNP, with no significant difference between RS and LNP means. Sentence-or phrase-level scores showed greater variability. Variability of individual scores was highest in the Far/Noise condition of the FLE. RS scores showed the highest variability among the three speech materials. Word-level scoring is recommended when conducting the FLE using any of these speech materials. In light of the high word-level scores overall for this sample, even relatively small reductions in scores could be clinically significant for 7-to 10-year-olds with normal hearing and special listening needs.