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House Ear Institute's Functional Hearing Test Reaches International Market

HINT (hearing in noise test), developed by the House Ear Institute (HEI), will soon be available in foreign language modules for use in the U.S., Asia, Latin America and Canada

LOS ANGELES - For the first time since it was released for commercial use in 1996, the House Ear Institute's HINT (hearing in noise test) will be available in Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and Canadian French language modules. Experts in Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Osaka, Ottawa and several Latin American countries have collaborated with HEI, Maico Diagnostics, Nidek Corporation and Cochlear Corporation to develop and manufacture these foreign language modules for release in 2002.

The HINT is used to evaluate the functional hearing capabilities of hearing aid users, cochlear implant users and those in listening-critical jobs. Hearing health scientists will now be able to use the HINT technology to compare data and measure benefits for cochlear implant users across different language groups. Clinicians in the U.S. will apply the new foreign-language modules in their treatment of hearing loss patients who do not speak English. Experts in different countries will be able to pool data for collaborative international studies on functional hearing results.

Professor Takeshi Kubo, M.D., Osaka Medical University, has spearheaded the Japanese-language HINT project with sponsorship from Nidek Corporation. Together they have developed a portable Japanese-language module that will run on any personal computer. The HINT provides a reliable tool for evaluating the speech and hearing capabilities of a growing number of auditory implant patients in Japan. Audiologists and otologists will use the HINT to expand cochlear implant studies in Japan through standardized methods and testing norms.

Chantal Laroche, Ph.D., is working with researchers and students at the University of Ottawa to develop the Canadian French version of the HINT to evaluate the functional hearing of Canadian Coast Guard recruits. It is hoped that this version will also be used by clinicians and researchers in Canada to evaluate hearing aid and cochlear implant users.

"Developing equivalent functional hearing tests in English and Canadian French for our national Coast Guard is crucial because we're more likely to get accurate results if we use both tests with our bilingual recruits," said Chantal Laroche, Ph.D., University of Ottawa. "In the future, we hope to use the Canadian French HINT to test others in listening-critical professions."

Lena L.N. Wong, M.A., University of Hong Kong, has worked with Sigfrid Soli, Ph.D., in the House Ear Institute's Department of Human Communications Sciences and Devices Department, to develop the Cantonese and Mandarin versions of the HINT. Other collaborators on the Mandarin HINT modules are Sheng Hwa Chen, Ph.D., National Taipei College of Nursing and Hua Zhang, M.D., and Liu Sha, M.A., Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology and Beijing TongRen Hospital.

"A very impressive group of experts throughout Latin America have worked with us to develop the Spanish-language HINT," said Carolina A. Filesari, Ph.D., Cochlear Corporation, Venezuela. "The availability of HINT technology in multiple languages is a vital step forward in international studies aimed at improving the benefits for those with auditory implants."

The HINT requires patients to recognize and repeat short sentences. The subject's sentence reception threshold is obtained under four test conditions, which sample the range of binaural directional hearing ability in noise: speech in quiet or with noise coming from three different directions. Noise is presented at a fixed level of 65 decibels (dB), and the level of speech is adaptively varied depending on the response of the subject.

About the House Ear Institute
The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life.

Established in 1946 by Howard P. House, M.D., as the Los Angeles Foundation of Otology, and later renamed for its founder, the House Ear Institute has been engaged in the scientific exploration of the auditory system from the ear canal to the cortex of the brain for more than 55 years.

Our scientists continue to explore the developing ear and ear diseases at the cell and molecular level, as well as the complex ear-brain interaction. They are also working to improve hearing aids and auditory implants, clinical treatments and intervention methods. For information on the House Ear Institute, please call (213) 483-4431 or visit the Website at

For more information about distribution of the HINT product:
Maico Diagnostics, please call (888) 941-4201 or visit
Cochlear Corporation, please call (303) 790-9010 or visit