Experts discussed realistic testing at the Eriksholm Workshop

At the sixth Eriksholm Workshop, experts debated the status and future of ecologically valid assessments of hearing and hearing devices.


For the sixth time, the Eriksholm Workshop has provided a forum for top experts to come together and discuss a specific topic relevant to research on hearing care. After three days of presentations and discussions, each workshop results in a consensus paper published in Ear & Hearing, a paper which is usually quite influential. The latest consensus paper on listening effort, published in 2016, so far has 193 citations.

Recently, the sixth Eriksholm Workshop took place at Eriksholm Research Centre with the theme ‘ecologically valid assessments of hearing and hearing devices’. Once again, it turned out to be three days of good discussions that will be consolidated in a new consensus paper.

“We got plenty of things to present in the consensus paper in terms of taking stock at where we are at the moments and presenting some ideas for the future direction. We also learned that we still need more evidence for the validity of possible new assessment methods,” explains Gitte Keidser, who is one of the organizers of the workshop and senior researcher at Eriksholm.

Towards more ecologically valid assessments in research

The interest in looking for more ecologically valid assessments of hearing and hearing devices to use in research and by hearing care providers has been growing steeply over the past 10-15 years, Gitte Keidser explains.

“When evaluating the effect of having a hearing loss and the benefit of devices today, we use methodologies that were developed 40-50 years ago. The way they are implemented is so different from the way we go about in our everyday life,” she says.

For example, while speech is presented in a clean format through a loudspeaker in the lab, many factors influence the speech signals in real life. This could be interference of other sound signals or visual inputs.

“There are many factors in real life that we do not consider when we do evaluation in the lab and even less so in the audiological clinics. So we have realized that we need to do something different, but there has so far not been a unified direction towards understanding what and how,” Gitte Keidser says.

This direction was the focus of discussion when an interdisciplinary team of 16 international experts got together to present results, discuss where we are now, and where we are heading when it comes to adding realism to hearing assessment tests. The agreement they reached will be published in Ear & Hearing end of 2020.

The contributors were: Graham Naylor, Karolina Smeds, Volker Hohmann, Ravish Mehra, Thomas Lunner, Simon Carlile, Giso Grimm, Douglas Brungart, Mark Carpenter, Inga Holube, Frances Rapport, Malcolm Slaney, Stefan Launer, Jennifer Campos, Andreas Caduff, and Gitte Keidser.

The Sixth Eriksholm Workshop was organized by Gitte Keidser and Graham Naylor.

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