Many tasks require functional hearing abilities such as speech communication, sound localization, and sound detection, and are performed in challenging noisy environments. Individuals who must perform these tasks and whose functional hearing abilities are impaired by hearing loss may constitute safety risks to themselves and others. We have developed and validated in two languages (American English and Canadian French) a statistical model based on the speech reception threshold that predicts functional hearing ability using on the statistical characteristics of the real-world noise where the tasks are performed together with the communication task parameters. The model will be used by the Canadian government to screen individuals who are required to perform hearing-critical public safety tasks. This presentation will summarize the three years of field and laboratory work culminating in the implementation of the model. Emphases will be placed on the methods for statistical characterization of noise environments, since these methods may allow generalization of the model to a wider range of real-world noise environments.
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