Radio aids – optimising listening opportunities: Guide

Gill Weston, Pauline Cobbold, Cate Statham and Helen Maiden with contributions by James Mander, Gary Webster and Brian Copsey | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Assessing the benefits of the radio aid

The purpose of a radio aid is to make speech accessible in difficult listening environments for hearing aids and CIs, by reducing the effect of distance and background noise.  The radio aid is set up and balanced before being subjectively assessed by the wearer.  Objective evaluation using speech discrimination tests assesses the benefit the wearer gains as well as their functional use of their listening package.

Is it worth it? Measuring benefit in noise by Joyce Sewell Rutter and Richard Vaughan is an outline of measuring the benefit of using radio aids in noise.

The Quality Standards for the use of personal radio aids recommends in QS4 that  the child’s listening response must be checked with the complete system in place.

These evaluations are usually done in ideal listening conditions with the typical mainstream classroom  noise introduced, enabling the signal and noise to be be measured.

Section 4 of the Quality Standards Good Practice Guide 2008 details the way the information that can be used, available tests and methods of administering the tests.

Gary Webster, County Educational Audiologist from Northamptonshire in Speech-in-Noise (SIN) assessments and radio aids, details his rationale and procedure for assessing how the child accesses speech with and without a radio aids and in typical classroom noise.  He also highlights the importance of choosing the right assessment and method of presentation.

The Ewing Foundation have produced a SIN Toolkit for undertaking Speech in Noise testing.  The leaflet that comes with the test explains how the test can be set up and performed.  Joyce Sewell-Rutter and Trish Cope delivered a workshop on speech perception testing at the 2018  BATOD National Conference to show one of the ways to gather and use evidence – speech in noise testing. Their article in the May 2108 BATOD magazine considered 'Why speech perception tests?' and dealt with what evidence we want, how do we get it and how do we use the information.  Two case studies were used to demonstrate this.


Some small scale research

2004 Pilot study of procedures for evaluating benefit from fm systems using a speech in noise test and a questionnaire by Carina Newman and Mary Hostler.


Eiten, L. R. and D. E. Lewis (2010). "Verifying frequency-modulated system performance: It's the right thing to do." Seminars in Hearing 31(3): 233-240.

This article discusses some current recommended practices for verifying a radio aid system using different options