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Zenker F (1,2), Fernández Belda R (3,1,2), Mora Espino R (4,1) and Barajas de Prat JJ (4,2,1).

(1) Clínica Barajas, S/C de Tenerife, Spain;(2) Fundación Dr. Barajas, S/C de Tenerife, Spain; (3) Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, S/C de Tenerife, Spain; (4) Universidad de La Laguna. S/C de Tenerife, Spain.

The advent of universal hearing screening programs has ensured early detection of hearing impairment at birth. This involves the fitting of hearing-aids at the earliest stage possible. It is important to have hearing aid fitting protocols specifically designed for very young infants.  These protocols will be dependent upon electrophysiologic methods, as behavioural audiometry is not viable until 5-6 months of age and in some cases of infants or young children with developmental delay, not possible at all.

Non-linear circuits found in digital or wide-dynamic range compression (WDRC) hearing-aids have incorporated new fitting strategies that provide information about the loudness growth function over the range of intensities amplified. The adjustment of non-linear hearing-aids involves the concept of loudness growth normalization, where hearing-aid features would be adjusted for a particular hearing loss in order to normalize the perception of loudness. From this kind of loudness judgment it is possible to derive electroacoustic characteristics of hearing-aids such as average gain, maximum output, compression ratio and onset level.

In this presentation we propose a method to estimate the loudness growth function from the amplitude- intensity function of the Auditory Steady-State Responses (ASSR).  This procedure enables determination of some basic properties of hearing aids. A hearing aid evaluation is discussed as an example of a sensorineural impairment. This procedure based directly on the ASSR could deliver an initial adjustment of the hearing-aid until other behavioural responses can be obtained. 



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