Sensitive, reliable, and valid test methods are an essential part of conducting high-quality auditory research. Progress in hearing-aid technology affects many different domains of hearing, such as speech intelligibility in noise, comfort and directionality. These different domains require an ongoing revision of existing test methods as well as development of new methods.
ORCA Europe carries out ongoing research in method development, validation, and evaluation. For example, previous projects at ORCA Europe have developed a new laboratory test, the ORCA Speech Test, which measures the intelligibility of the small building blocks of speech (i.e. phonemes). ORCA Europe has also developed a laboratory test, LEAP, and the complementary ORCA Guided Sound Walk Test, which bridges the gap between the laboratory and the field. In these test methodologies we have investigated test participants’ perception of comfort, speech intelligibility and preference of hearing-aid sound by using the Paired Comparisons paradigm. In a Paired Comparisons paradigm, two choices are presented, and the task of the test participant is to decide which one is preferred. The main goal of our work with these methods is to predict hearing-aid performance in the real world more reliably. We were also among the first to develop a digitalized tool (as an app in a smartphone) for use in Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) studies, which has been utilized in several studies at ORCA Europe and at the WSA headquarters in Denmark.