What is it about?

Children learn most by listening to the people around them. We found that children normally understand familiar speech better from the left side and unfamiliar speech, like words they've never heard before, better from the right side. Children with hearing loss generally do the same thing unless there is noise close to the person they are trying to hear.

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Why is it important?

We are always trying to find better ways to help children with hearing loss. Hearing aids have a lot of sophisticated features that are selected and adjusted for each ear. Currently, noise management features are set exactly the same way for both ears. Our results suggest that, like other hearing aid settings, children may benefit from ear-specific noise management settings.


It was a pleasure to work with my co-author, Torben, on this project. I'm most excited by the possibility that our work revealed a new way to think about hearing and hearing loss in children, and probably adults too.

Andrea Pittman
MGH Institute of Health Solutions

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Spatial Hearing in Children With and Without Hearing Loss: Where and What the Speech Is Matters for Local Speech Intelligibility, American Journal of Audiology, April 2024, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2024_aja-23-00250.
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