Validation of a Self-Fitting Method for Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Andrew T. Sabin*, Dianne J. Van Tasell, Bill Rabinowitz, Sumitrajit Dhar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In common practice, hearing aids are fitted by a clinician who measures an audiogram and uses it to generate prescriptive gain and output targets. This report describes an alternative method where users select their own signal processing parameters using an interface consisting of two wheels that optimally map to simultaneous control of gain and compression in each frequency band. The real-world performance of this approach was evaluated via a take-home field trial. Participants with hearing loss were fitted using clinical best practices (audiogram, fit to target, real-ear verification, and subsequent fine tuning). Then, in their everyday lives over the course of a month, participants either selected their own parameters using this new interface (Self group; n = 38) or used the parameters selected by the clinician with limited control (Audiologist Best Practices Group; n = 37). On average, the gain selected by the Self group was within 1.8 dB overall and 5.6 dB per band of that selected by the audiologist. Participants in the Self group reported better sound quality than did those in the Audiologist Best Practices group. In blind sound quality comparisons conducted in the field, participants in the Self group slightly preferred the parameters they selected over those selected by the clinician. Finally, there were no differences between groups in terms of standard clinical measures of hearing aid benefit or speech perception in noise. Overall, the results indicate that it is possible for users to select effective amplification parameters by themselves using a simple interface that maps to key hearing aid signal processing parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Hearing
Volume24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • hearing aid benefit
  • hearing aids
  • over-the-counter hearing aids
  • self-fitting hearing aids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing

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