Sensitivity of the antiphasic digits-in-noise test to simulated unilateral and bilateral conductive hearing loss

Sigrid Polspoel, David R. Moore, De Wet Swanepoel, Sophia E. Kramer, Cas Smits

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Objectives: The objective of this study is (1) to assess whether the presentation level of the antiphasic digits-in-noise (DIN) test affects the speech recognition threshold (SRT), (2) to evaluate how accurately simulated unilateral and bilateral conductive hearing loss is detected (CHL) and (3) to determine whether increasing the presentation level normalises the antiphasic DIN SRT. Design: Participants performed antiphasic and diotic DINs at different presentation levels with unilateral, bilateral or no earplugs. Study sample: Twenty-four and twelve normal hearing adults. Results: Without earplugs, antiphasic DIN SRTs did not differ between 60 and 80 dB SPL. At 60 dB SPL, the antiphasic DIN correctly classified 92% of the unilateral earplug cases; the diotic DIN 25%. The binaural intelligibility level difference did not differ between the no-earplug condition and the condition with bilateral earplugs when the presentation was increased with the attenuation level. Conclusions: In normal hearing participants, diotic and antiphasic DIN SRTs are independent of presentation level above a minimum level of 60 dB SPL. The antiphasic DIN is more sensitive than the diotic DIN for detecting unilateral CHL; not for bilateral CHL. The effect of CHL on DIN SRTs can be largely compensated by increasing the presentation level. Audibility plays an important role in the antiphasic and diotic DIN.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Conductive hearing loss (CHL)
  • antiphasic digits-in-noise test
  • diotic digits-in-noise test
  • presentation level
  • speech recognition threshold (SRT)

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