Digits-in-noise test in Brazilian Portuguese: preliminary study in schoolchildren

Authors: Karen M Gonzaga dos Santos* 1 ; Amanda Silva 1 ; Bianca Vital 1 ; Gizele Nascimento 1; Aryelly Nunes Araújo 1; Sheila Balen 1

1 Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte

Background: The use of low-cost, easy-to-apply and accessible hearing screening technologies must be validated for different population and age groups. This study aimed to verify the performance of schoolchildren in the Digits in Noise Test (DIN) in Brazilian Portuguese.

Methods: 87 schoolchildren (8 to 16 years old) were evaluated with pure tone auditory thresholds (1, 2 and 4kHz) and tympanometry and were divided into five groups: G1 to G4, from better to worse audiometric thresholds with type A tympanometry bilaterally, and G5: subjects with tympanometric alteration. The DIN was administered in both diotic and antiphasic modes in randomized order, with subjects required to recognize sequences of three digits presented in white noise at varying signal-to-noise ratios. When listening to the digits, they had to recognize the sequence of digits on the keyboard.

Results: Data did not show normal distribution in the Shapiro-Wilks test. Kruskal-Wallis test was used to analyze performance between groups and Wilcoxon test between diotic and antiphasic modes. A significance level of 5% was adopted. Better performance of the antiphasic mode compared to the diotic mode was identified in G1, G2 and G3. The G4 and G5 presented similar performances in the two DIN modes. When comparing groups, there was a significant difference between G4 with G3 and G5 in the diotic and antiphasic mode, being also observed with G2 only in the antiphasic mode.

Conclusion: The results suggest that DIN had a better signal-to-noise ratio in antiphasic mode in schoolchildren with less hearing loss. It was found that performance in the antiphasic mode of DIN differentiated the group with greater hearing loss (G4) from those with less hearing loss (G2,G3) and with conductive components (G5). However, further studies are necessary to analyze other environmental and biological variables, as well as confirm the influence of the degree and type of hearing loss.