March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


  |   -   |  2 - Audiological Services

Reliability of Acoustic Measures within Classrooms and Frequency of Hearing Aid Use for Children Who Are Hard of Hearing

Although children who are hard of hearing (HH) comprise the majority of children with hearing loss, most research has focused primarily on children who are deaf. The small number of studies on children who are HH suggest that they are at risk for delays in language and academics. Hearing aids and FM systems are vital components to ameliorating the risks associated with poor outcomes. Furthermore, children who are HH receive the most benefit from hearing aids when room acoustics are optimized (i.e., when reverberation is minimized and overall noise level is low). To ensure classroom environments meet the classroom acoustic standards set in place for them by ANSI, educational audiologists can use iPod applications to document noise levels and reverberation times. The current study had three goals: 1) verify the reliability of reverberation time and noise levels measurements using an iPod application, 2) examine the frequency of amplification system use for children who are HH in the classroom, and 3) determine how often amplification systems were functioning appropriately. Our findings indicated that the reverberation time measure from the iPod application was reliable, whereas repeated measures of overall noise level in unoccupied classrooms were less consistent. Results also suggested that the vast majority of children who used amplification (hearing aids and FM) had equipment that was functioning appropriately. While most of the children (over 90%) were wearing hearing aids in the classroom, approximately 20% of the children who had access to FM technology were not using their FM systems. Compared to previous studies, children who are HH appear to be wearing amplification the majority of the time and equipment appears to be functioning appropriately. The Audio Tools application is an effective tool in measuring classroom acoustics, but audiologists are advised to collect multiple measurements in each classroom.

  • Assess the reliability for classroom acoustic measurement application Audio Tools.
  • Determine the frequency of use for amplification systems within classrooms.
  • Report the frequency of amplification system malfunctions for children who are hard of hearing in classrooms.

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Elizabeth Walker (Author), University of Iowa, Elizabeth-walker@uiowa.edu;
Elizabeth Walker, PhD, CCC-A/SLP is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on pediatric aural habilitation, specifically examining malleable factors that relate to individual differences in speech perception and language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. For the past few years, she has been an investigator on several NIH-funded research grants, including the University of Iowa Cochlear Implant project, Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss study, and Complex Listening in School Age Children who are Hard of Hearing.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -

Ryan McCreery (Author), Boys Town National Research Hospital, ryan.mccreery@boystown.org;
Ryan McCreery is a Research Associate at Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH) in Omaha, Nebraska, where his research examines methods of optimizing audibility for children with normal hearing and hearing loss. Ryan is also a collaborator in multiple research laboratories at BTNRH.


Financial - Receives Salary for Employment from Boys Town National Research Hospital.   Receives Grants for Independent contractor from NIH/NIDCD.   Receives Grants,Speaker for Teaching and speaking,Independent contractor from Oticon, Inc.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Meredith Spratford (Author), Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE, Meredith.Spratford@boystown.org;


Financial - Receives Grants for Employment from NIH-NIDCD.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Jill Aunan (Primary Presenter), University of Iowa- Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic , jill-aunan@uiowa.edu;
I am a senior undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with hopes of pursuing a graduate level education in Speech Language Pathology next spring. I have been working closely with Dr. Walker for over a year now and have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and experiences her lab has brought.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.