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J Am Acad Audiol. 2004 May;15(5):365-96.

Predicting hearing aid microphone preference in everyday listening.

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Army Audiology and Speech Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20307-5001, USA.


Seventeen hearing-impaired adults were fit with omnidirectional/directional hearing aids, which they wore during a four-week trial. For each listening situation encountered in daily living during a total of seven days, participants selected the preferred microphone mode and described the listening situation in terms of five environmental variables, using a paper and pencil form. Results indicated that hearing-impaired adults typically spend the majority of their active listening time in situations with background noise present and surrounding the listener, and the signal source located in front and relatively near. Microphone preferences were fairly evenly distributed across listening situations but differed depending on the characteristics of the listening environment. The omnidirectional mode tended to be preferred in relatively quiet listening situations or, in the presence of background noise, when the signal source was relatively far away. The directional mode tended to be preferred when background noise was present and the signal source was located in front of and relatively near the listener. Results suggest that knowing only signal location and distance and whether background noise is present or absent, omnidirectional/directional hearing aids can be set in the preferred mode in most everyday listening situations. These findings have relevance for counseling patients when to set manually switchable omnidirectional/directional hearing aids in each microphone mode, as well as for the development of automatic algorithms for selecting omnidirectional versus directional microphone processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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