Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Document Type


Date of this Version



Ear Hear. 2013 March ; 34(2): e24–e27.


Copyright 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

NIH Public Access



Objective—Nonlinear frequency compression attempts to restore high-frequency audibility by lowering high-frequency input signals. Methods of determining the optimal parameters that maximize speech understanding have not been evaluated. The effect of maximizing the audible bandwidth on speech recognition for a group of listeners with normal hearing is described.

Design—Nonword recognition was measured with twenty normal-hearing adults. Three audiograms with different high-frequency thresholds were used to create conditions with varying high-frequency audibility. Bandwidth was manipulated using three conditions for each audiogram: conventional processing, the manufacturer’s default compression parameters, and compression parameters that optimized bandwidth.

Results—Nonlinear frequency compression optimized to provide the widest audible bandwidth improved nonword recognition compared to both conventional processing and the default parameters.

Conclusion—These results showed that using the widest audible bandwidth maximized speech identification when using nonlinear frequency compression. Future studies should apply these methods to listeners with hearing loss to demonstrate efficacy in clinical populations.