Emotional Responses to Non-Speech Sounds for Hearing-aid and Bimodal Cochlear-Implant Listeners.


The purpose of this project was to evaluate differences between groups and device configurations for emotional responses to non-speech sounds. Three groups of adults participated: 1) listeners with normal hearing with no history of device use, 2) hearing aid candidates with or without hearing aid experience, and 3) bimodal cochlear-implant listeners with at least 6 months of implant use. Participants ( = 18 in each group) rated valence and arousal of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant non-speech sounds. Listeners with normal hearing rated sounds without hearing devices. Hearing aid candidates rated sounds while using one or two hearing aids. Bimodal cochlear-implant listeners rated sounds while using a hearing aid alone, a cochlear implant alone, or the hearing aid and cochlear implant simultaneously. Analysis revealed significant differences between groups in ratings of pleasant and unpleasant stimuli; ratings from hearing aid candidates and bimodal cochlear-implant listeners were less extreme (less pleasant and less unpleasant) than were ratings from listeners with normal hearing. Hearing aid candidates' ratings were similar with one and two hearing aids. Bimodal cochlear-implant listeners' ratings of valence were higher (more pleasant) in the configuration without a hearing aid (implant only) than in the two configurations with a hearing aid (alone or with an implant). These data support the need for further investigation into hearing device optimization to improve emotional responses to non-speech sounds for adults with hearing loss.