Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Melinda F. Bryan


The present study measured acceptance of background noise in 35 children (age 10–11 and 14–15 years) with normal hearing sensitivity. Acceptance of background noise was measured using the acceptable noise level (ANL) procedure. To obtain an ANL, participants' MCL was first obtained using a running story. Then a competing stimulus (i.e., speech babble or speech spectrum noise) was introduced, and the listeners were asked to adjust the level of the background noise to the most he/she could put up with and follow the story for a long period of time. This level was called background noise level or BNL. The ANL was then determined by the subtracting the MCL from the BNL. Three trials were obtained for each type of background noise distraction (i.e., speech babble and speech spectrum noise). Results demonstrated that acceptable noise levels (ANLs) were reliable in children with normal hearing. Furthermore, the distribution histograms revealed that ANLs were near normally distributed (i.e., slightly skewed to the left) for each age group and type of background noise distraction and for the two age groups combined. Second, results demonstrated that ANLs were not dependent on gender or age, at least for children 10–11 and 14–15 years of age. Lastly, results revealed that ANLs were dependent upon type of background noise distraction. However, since ANLs are measured in 2 decibel (dB) steps, the difference of 1.39 dB was determined to be clinically insignificant. Clinical implications and applications will be discussed.