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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

Components of Hearing Aid Benefit Over Time

Amy R. Horowitz, Judy R. Dubno, Jayne B. Ahlstrom, Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina and Christopher W. Turner, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Recently, a study was conducted to determine whether benefit derived from hearing aid use increases with hearing aid experience (Horwitz & Turner, 1997). Two measures of hearing aid benefit were employed: an objective syllable recognition task and a subjective questionnaire. In the initial analyses, only gross measures were examined, such as the overall percent correct recognition of nonsense syllables and overall self-assessed frequency of problems with speech recognition. Both measures of aided speech recognition increased significantly over the first 18 weeks of hearing aid use for a group of 13 new hearing aid users. Here, the focus is on more subtle aspects of hearing aid benefit suggested by both outcome measures. In these analyses, benefit provided by a hearing aid is assessed in three ways: (1) differences in the patterns of correct and incorrect responses to nonsense syllables with and without a hearing aid, (2) changes in the patterns of responses to nonsense syllables with a hearing aid over time, and (3) changes in patterns of self-assessed frequency of problems with a hearing aid over time. For example, as expected, place-of-articulation errors are most common, and account for a large proportion of the variance in overall score. Over the course of the initial 14 - 18 weeks of hearing aid use, however, there is a statistically significant reduction in place errors. Manner-of articulation errors are less common but also tend to decrease with hearing aid use. Voicing errors are rare even without a hearing aid. Such detailed analyses, beyond overall scores, may provide additional useful information to evaluate hearing aid benefit.

[Work supported by NIDCD]

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