Investigation of the benefit from New Zealand prescribed hearing aids for bilingual speakers in Mandarin and English speech in noise tests

Our study will investigate whether NZ-prescribed hearing aids can help speech recognition for bilingual speakers of Mandarin and English.

Previous studies have shown that tonal languages have different phonemics from non-tonal languages. Also, studies have shown improvement in hearing speech in noise with the help of hearing aids. However, it is unclear to what extent hearing aids, fitted in New Zealand according to New Zealand protocols, will improve speech recognition scores in the tonal language (Mandarin) and non-tonal language (English) in noise.

The participants of this research will be bilingual speakers of Mandarin (first language) and English (second language) with hearing loss and who have hearing aids fitted by an audiologist in New Zealand. Their ability to hear speech in a background of noise will be tested with and without hearing aids and in both Mandarin and English speech in noise tests. The main question is, ‘will participants benefit from NZ-prescribed hearing aids when identifying English speech in noise to the same extent as identifying Mandarin speech in noise?  

What's involved?

Participants will be asked to listen to Mandarin and English words both with and without their hearing aids on. Their ability to hear the words will be measured. The procedure is conducted onsite at the University of Auckland, and takes about two hours in total.

Eligibility criteria

Participants must be:

  • 18 years and over
  • A native speaker of Mandarin but can also speak some English
  • Users of  hearing aids fitted by an audiologist in New Zealand

Contact us

For more information please contact:

Daisy Yu
Lead Investigator

Further information

Approved by the Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee on [1/Jan/23] for three years. Reference number [AH25367].