gms | German Medical Science

25. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Audiologie

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Audiologie e. V.

01.03. - 03.03.2023, Köln

What’s the relationship among different measures of objective listening effort regarding task demand and transparent hearing aids in normal-hearing listeners?

Meeting Abstract

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  • presenting/speaker Markus Kemper - German Institute of Hearing Aids, University of Lübeck, Department of Psychology, Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM), Lübeck, DE
  • Hendrik Husstedt - Deutsches Hörgeräte Institut GmbH, Lübeck, DE
  • Jonas Obleser - University of Lübeck, Department of Psychology, Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM), Lübeck, DE

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Audiologie e.V.. 25. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Audiologie. Köln, 01.-03.03.2023. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2023. Doc049

doi: 10.3205/23dga049, urn:nbn:de:0183-23dga0492

Published: March 1, 2023

© 2023 Kemper et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



The relation between task demand and listening effort (LE) is often assumed to form an inverse U-shape: While effort generally increases with increasing task demand (e.g., lower SNR) [1], people tend to give up (i.e., invest less effort) when a task becomes overly difficult. Another effect which increases task demand is listening through a hearing aid (HA). Strikingly, even listening through a HA in a transparent setting (i.e., gain set to 0 dB insertion gain) has been shown to have a detrimental effect on speech intelligibility for normal hearing listeners (hearing aid disadvantage) [2]. However, this finding refers to a generic and not individual transparent fitting. There is a lack of evidence whether such detrimental effects due to a transparent hearing aid develop in objective and subjective indicators of LE. We recently had devised a study (initially presented at DGA 2022) to gain new insights on how even transparent HAs can moderate the relationship of task demand (SNR) and LE [3]. The amount of LE was derived from four objective measures used in the past to reflect LE (electroencephalography, pupil size, skin resistance, and heartrate variability) and a subjective 13-level scale for subjective LE (ACALES). The intent of the initial presentation at DGA 2022 was to explore the effect of task demand and individually set transparent HAs on performance, subjective LE (ACALES) and one measure of objective LE (pupil size). Twenty-one young normal-hearing volunteers underwent a speech-in-noise task at five levels of task demand reflecting the individual speech reception thresholds from almost unsolvable SNR levels to practically fully solvable SNR levels, with and without individually fitted transparent hearing aids of 60 trials each (5 SNR x 2 HA design). In addition, we measured subjective LE using the ACALES with and without a transparent HA. Results presented at DGA 2022 showed performance differences between each of the five SNRs. Using an individually fitted transparent HA decreased both, the hearing-aid disadvantage in speech intelligibility and subjective LE. Despite the individually fitted transparent HA setting, a significant hearing-aid disadvantage remained in objective LE (i.e., increased pupil size) at medium and high task demand. Following our hypothesis, the pupil data show the inverted U-shape, i.e. the pupil decreases when the task becomes overly difficult.With this contribution, we want to compare different measures of objective LE whether they behave same or different. More precisely: We derive the occipital/parietal alpha power (one further indicator of objective LE) from the electroencephalogram, investigate the effects of task difficulty and individually set transparent HAs, and compare these results to existing pupil results (presented at DGA 2022).


Zhang Y, Lehmann A, Deroche M. Disentangling listening effort and memory load beyond behavioural evidence: Pupillary response to listening effort during a concurrent memory task. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 3;16(3):e0233251. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233251 External link
Denk F, Miethling F, Tchorz J, Husstedt H. Influence of wearing hearing aids on speech intelligibility in spatial scenarios for normal-hearing listeners. 51. Jahrestagung für Akustik (DAGA 2021), Wien, Austria; 2021.
Kemper M, Weiß R, Husstedt H, Obleser J. What’s the effect of task demand on listening effort in normal-hearing listeners with and without a transparent hearing aid? 24. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Audiologie. Erfurt, 14.-17.09.2022.