LEAP, a new laboratory test for evaluating auditory preference
* Presenting author
When hearing-device signal processing is evaluated in the laboratory, the testing usually incorporates speech testing or sound-quality evaluations with pre-recorded material. Neither real speech communication, nor more passive listening situations are usually included. A new test, the Live Evaluation of Auditory Preference (LEAP), was developed with the aim to broaden the scope of laboratory testing by focusing on a range of listening intentions. Real conversations between the test participant and one or two test leaders are central to the method, but ecologically valid test scenarios with focused listening (such as watching TV) and scenarios with passive listening are also included.The test was evaluated with experienced hearing-aid users, who compared two hearing-aid settings using paired comparisons of preference. To validate the method, the results from the LEAP test were compared to results obtained in the field, where a smartphone was used for prompting the assessors to make paired comparisons of preference using Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA).When the results from the field and the laboratory were compared, the correspondence was satisfactory. To make the results of a laboratory test indicative of real-life performance, a broadened test scope seems important, and the LEAP could be a step forward in that direction.