This study examines whether speech-in-noise tests that use adaptive procedures to assess a speech reception threshold in noise (SRT50n) can be optimized using stochastic approximation (SA) methods, especially in cochlear-implant (CI) users. A simulation model was developed that simulates intelligibility scores for words from sentences in noise for both CI users and normal-hearing (NH) listeners. The model was used in Monte Carlo simulations. Four different SA algorithms were optimized for use in both groups and compared with clinically used adaptive procedures. The simulation model proved to be valid, as its results agreed very well with existing experimental data. The four optimized SA algorithms all provided an efficient estimation of the SRT50n. They were equally accurate and produced smaller standard deviations (SDs) than the clinical procedures. In CI users, SRT50n estimates had a small bias and larger SDs than in NH listeners. At least 20 sentences per condition and an initial signal-to-noise ratio below the real SRT50n were required to ensure sufficient reliability. In CI users, bias and SD became unacceptably large for a maximum speech intelligibility score in quiet below 70%. In conclusion, SA algorithms with word scoring in adaptive speech-in-noise tests are applicable to various listeners, from CI users to NH listeners. In CI users, they lead to efficient estimation of the SRT50n as long as speech intelligibility in quiet is greater than 70%. SA procedures can be considered as a valid, more efficient, and alternative to clinical adaptive procedures currently used in CI users.

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Keywords adaptive procedure, algorithms, auditory perception, cochlear implants, Monte Carlo method, noise, speech intelligibility, stochastic approximation
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Journal Trends in Hearing
Dingemanse, G. (Gertjan), & Goedegebure, A. (2020). Efficient Adaptive Speech Reception Threshold Measurements Using Stochastic Approximation Algorithms. Trends in Hearing, 23. doi:10.1177/2331216520919199