Research Article

Efficacy and Effectiveness of Advanced Hearing Aid Directional and Noise Reduction Technologies for Older Adults With Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the laboratory efficacy and real-world effectiveness of advanced directional microphones (DM) and digital noise reduction (NR) algorithms (i.e., premium DM/NR features) relative to basic-level DM/NR features of contemporary hearing aids (HAs). The study also examined the effect of premium HAs relative to basic HAs and the effect of DM/NR features relative to no features. Design: Fifty-four older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss completed a single-blinded crossover trial. Two HA models, one a less-expensive, basic-level device (basic HA) and the other a more-expensive, advanced-level device (premium HA), were used. The DM/NR features of the basic HAs (i.e., basic features) were adaptive DMs and gain-reduction NR with fewer channels. In contrast, the DM/NR features of the premium HAs (i.e., premium features) included adaptive DMs and gain-reduction NR with more channels, bilateral beamformers, speech-seeking DMs, pinna-simulation directivity, reverberation reduction, impulse NR, wind NR, and spatial NR. The trial consisted of four conditions, which were factorial combinations of HA model (premium versus basic) and DM/NR feature status (on versus off). To blind participants regarding the HA technology, no technology details were disclosed and minimal training on how to use the features was provided. In each……

Factors Associated With Successful Setup of a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid and the Need for Personalized Support

Objectives: Self-fitting hearing aids have the potential to increase the accessibility of hearing health care. The aims of this study were to (1) identify factors that are associated with the ability to successfully set up a pair of commercially available self-fitting hearing aids; 2) identify factors that are associated with the need for knowledgeable, personalized support in performing the self-fitting procedure; and (3) evaluate performance of the individual steps in the self-fitting procedure. Design: Sixty adults with hearing loss between the ages of 51 and 85 took part in the study. Half of the participants were current users of bilateral hearing aids; the other half had no previous hearing aid experience. At the first appointment, participants underwent assessments of health locus of control, hearing aid self-efficacy, cognitive status, problem-solving skills, demographic characteristics, and hearing thresholds. At the second appointment, participants followed a set of computer-based instructions accompanied by video clips to self-fit the hearing aids. The self-fitting procedure required participants to customize the physical fit of the hearing aids, insert the hearing aids into the ear, perform self-directed in situ audiometry, and adjust the resultant settings according to their preference. Participants had access to support with the self-fitting procedure from a……

Noise Exposure May Diminish the Musician Advantage for Perceiving Speech in Noise

Objective: Although numerous studies have shown that musicians have better speech perception in noise (SPIN) compared to nonmusicians, other studies have not replicated the “musician advantage for SPIN.” One factor that has not been adequately addressed in previous studies is how musicians’ SPIN is affected by routine exposure to high levels of sound. We hypothesized that such exposure diminishes the musician advantage for SPIN. Design: Environmental sound levels were measured continuously for 1 week via body-worn noise dosimeters in 56 college students with diverse musical backgrounds and clinically normal pure-tone audiometric averages. SPIN was measured using the Quick Speech in Noise Test (QuickSIN). Multiple linear regression modeling was used to examine how music practice (years of playing a musical instrument) and routine noise exposure predict QuickSIN scores. Results: Noise exposure and music practice were both significant predictors of QuickSIN, but they had opposing influences, with more years of music practice predicting better QuickSIN scores and greater routine noise exposure predicting worse QuickSIN scores. Moreover, mediation analysis suggests that noise exposure suppresses the relationship between music practice and QuickSIN scores. Conclusions: Our findings suggest a beneficial relationship between music practice and SPIN that is suppressed by noise exposure. Original RSS Content… Hearing…