Loudness levels checked (Loudness Recruitment tests)
Most Comfortable Listening (MCL) Level testing
A very useful test, routinely administered to those who are being considered for hearing aids. MCL is the level at which a listener finds listening the most comfortable at that point in time to suit their current level of auditory rehabilitation. A range of responses is measured to give a good average level. MCL is useful, but not for determining where maximum intelligibility will be.
Uncomfortable Listening Level (UCL)
A test to determine the individual’s subjective level at which 4 given frequencies become uncomfortably loud. The instructions for this test can certainly influence the outcome since uncomfortable or uncomfortably loud sounds for some individuals may not really be their true UCL, but rather a preference for listening at a softer level that is in line with their current expectation / cognitive skill. By performing the UCL, we can get an estimate of the individual’s dynamic range for speech ~ that is the range between the threshold of hearing QUIET sounds and the upper threshold of comfort (UCL) or their tolerance of LOUD sounds.
Acceptable Noise Level (ANL)
Acceptable Noise Level (ANL) is the amount of background noise that a listener is willing to accept while listening to speech. It is a test of noise tolerance and it has been shown to be related to the successful use of hearing aids and to potential benefit with hearing aids (Nabelek, Freyaldenhoven, Tampas, & Muenchen, 2006). It uses the MCL and a measure known as BNL (or background noise level). To conduct the test, a recorded speech passage is presented to the listener in the sound field for the MCL. The noise is then introduced to the listener to a level that will be the highest level that that person is able to accept or “put up with” while they are listening to and following the story in the speech passage. The ANL then becomes the difference between the MCL and the BNL. Individuals that have very low scores on the ANL are considered successful hearing aid users or good candidates for hearing aids. Those that have very high scores are considered unsuccessful users or poor hearing aid candidates.