Digits in noise testing in a multilingual sample of Asian adults

Jeremy Chee, Robert H. Eikelboom, Cas Smits, De Wet Swanepoel, Shiou Liang Wee, Tze Pin Ng, Rebecca L. Heywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Volume63
Issue number4
Early online date27 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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