Categorical loudness scaling and equal-loudness contours in listeners with normal hearing and hearing loss

Daniel M. Rasetshwane, Andrea C. Trevino, Jessa N. Gombert, Lauren Liebig-Trehearn, Judy G. Kopun, Walt Jesteadt, Stephen T. Neely, Michael P. Gorga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study describes procedures for constructing equal-loudness contours (ELCs) in units of phons from categorical loudness scaling (CLS) data and characterizes the impact of hearing loss on these estimates of loudness. Additionally, this study developed a metric, level-dependent loudness loss, which uses CLS data to specify the deviation from normal loudness perception at various loudness levels and as function of frequency for an individual listener with hearing loss. CLS measurements were made in 87 participants with hearing loss and 61 participants with normal hearing. An assessment of the reliability of CLS measurements was conducted on a subset of the data. CLS measurements were reliable. There was a systematic increase in the slope of the low-level segment of the CLS functions with increase in the degree of hearing loss. ELCs derived from CLS measurements were similar to standardized ELCs (International Organization for Standardization, ISO 226:2003). The presence of hearing loss decreased the vertical spacing of the ELCs, reflecting loudness recruitment and reduced cochlear compression. Representing CLS data in phons may lead to wider acceptance of CLS measurements. Like the audiogram that specifies hearing loss at threshold, level-dependent loudness loss describes deficit for suprathreshold sounds. Such information may have implications for the fitting of hearing aids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1899-1913
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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