The one-up one-down adaptive (staircase) procedure in speech-in-noise testing: Standard error of measurement and fluctuations in the track

Cas Smits, Joost M. Festen, De Wet Swanepoel, David R. Moore, Harvey Dillon

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The one-up one-down adaptive (staircase or up-down) procedure is often used to estimate the speech recognition threshold (SRT) in speech-in-noise testing. This article provides a brief historical overview of the one-up one-down procedure in psychophysics, discussing the groundbreaking early work that is still relevant to clinical audiology and scientific research. Next, this article focuses on two aspects of the one-up one-down adaptive procedure: first, the standard error of measurement (SEM) and, second, the fluctuations in the track [i.e., the standard deviation of the signal-to-noise ratios of the stimuli within the track (SDtrack)]. Simulations of ideal and non-ideal listeners and experimental data are used to determine and evaluate different relationships between the parameters slope of the speech recognition function, SRT, SEM, and SDtrack. Hearing loss and non-ideal behavior (inattentiveness, fatigue, and giving up when the task becomes too difficult) slightly increase the average value of SDtrack. SDtrack, however, poorly discriminates between reliable and unreliable SRT estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2357-2368
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

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