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Second Biennial Hearing Aid Research and Development Conference

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September 22-24, 1997
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland



The Use of Multiple Memory Programmable Hearing Aid Technology in Children

Laurel A. Christensen and Tara E. Thomas, Lousiana State University Medical Center, Department of Communication Disorders, New Orleans, Louisiana

Programmable, multiple memory hearing instruments give the audiologist the capability to program one hearing aid with several frequency responses. Although this technology has been available for several years, there remain no clear recommendations for selecting the best sound processing strategy for each listening situation. Furthermore, the majority of research published on the topic of multiple memory, programmable hearing aids has involved adult subjects with hearing impairment. It is not known if children with hearing impairment can benefit from multiple memory, programmable devices. The goal of this project was twofold: (1) To evaluate the performance of three different sound processing strategies within the same hearing aid under various listening conditions; and (2) To determine if children can successfully use programmable aids with multiple memories.

The study used the Phonak Dyna Personal Integrated Communication System (PiCS - Dyna P2) in-the-ear hearing aid. The hearing aids were evaluated using the following sound processing strategies: (1) linear amplification with peak clipping to limit output; (2) linear amplification with compression limiting; and (3) wide dynamic range compression. Fifteen children ranging in age from 9-16 years participated in the project. Objective measures of outcome included speech recognition of both words and sentences in quiet and in noise and paired comparisons using the Speech in Noise (SIN) test. Subjective measures included the Hearing Performance Inventory for Children (HPIC) and a diary recording memory use in different listening environments. Preliminary results indicate children can be successful using multiple memory, programmable technology.

[Work supported by Phonak, Incorporated]

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