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J Am Acad Audiol. 2011 Jun;22(6):359-74. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.22.6.5.

Hearing aids in the real world: use of multimemory and volume controls.

Author information

1
Starkey Laboratories, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN, USA. shilpi@starkey.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite advances in technology, hearing aid users continue to express a desire for some control over their devices. Access to a suitable control can significantly affect overall satisfaction with amplification, yet little is known about the circumstances that drive hearing aid users to manipulate controls. Such information would be useful in guiding clinical decisions about the selection of controls and synchronization of their operation in a bilateral pair of hearing aids.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to examine the real-world use of multimemory (MM) and volume (VC) controls and environmental characteristics that may influence their use.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

Real-time data about MM and VC usage were gathered in the real world. Subjective reports of the environmental characteristics were obtained. This design allowed examination of the nature of hearing aid adjustments as well as exploration of factors affecting them.

STUDY SAMPLE:

Ten adults with bilaterally symmetric, mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss participated in the study. All had previous experience with hearing aids.

INTERVENTION:

Participants were fitted bilaterally with BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids equipped with an MM button and/or VC wheel. The devices were connected to a PDA (personal digital assistant) that logged data from the hearing aids and stored surveys completed by participants in various listening situations.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

The following data were obtained from the PDA: (1) MM and VC settings in the left and right devices, (2) broadband input level at the microphone of the left and right devices, and (3) participant reports of the presence, distance, and location of signal and background noise. Prevalence of nondefault settings and bilateral symmetry of hearing aid adjustments were summarized descriptively, while the influence of environmental characteristics on hearing aid adjustments was analyzed using nonparametric methods.

RESULTS:

Over 4-5 wk, 912 hr of data were logged and 184 surveys completed. Results showed that (1) the default (i.e., the programmed or "use") setting was preferred most often, (2) the preferred hearing aid settings were mostly bilaterally symmetrical, and (3) nondefault settings were often used in difficult listening situations.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings of this study generally support the use of synchronized MMs and/or VCs, although there may be exceptions to their utility.

PMID:
21864473
DOI:
10.3766/jaaa.22.6.5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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