J Am Acad Audiol
DOI: 10.1055/a-1673-9989
Research Article

Effect of Hearing Aid Technology Level on New Hearing Aid Users

Hausladen et al. Technology Levels New Users
Jennifer Hausladen
1   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
,
Patrick N Plyler
2   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
,
Bailee Clausen
3   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
,
Ashton Fincher
1   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
,
Sarah Norris
1   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
,
Teresa Russell
1   Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Knoxville, United States
› Author Affiliations

ABSTRACT Background: Hearing aid manufacturers offer several different levels of technology that vary in sophistication and cost. It would stand to reason that higher technology hearing aids would provide greater benefit in the daily life of the user; however, research does not support this assumption for all users. Recent research in experienced hearing aid users indicated noise acceptance and satisfaction for speech in a large group were significantly improved when using the premium devices and suggested noise acceptance may be useful when comparing hearing aid technology levels. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of hearing aid technology level on listener outcome measures for new hearing aid users. Research Design: A repeated measures, single-blinded research design was utilized. Study Sample: Twenty-four adults with no previous hearing aid experience were recruited using flyers posted at the University of Tennessee Audiology Clinic and on social media (19 males, five females). The average age of the participants was 61 years (48-81 years). Data Collection and Analysis: Participants completed two, four-week trial periods using Unitron T Moxi Fit FLEX:TRIALTM devices programmed with basic or premium technology. Following each trial, laboratory evaluations were conducted using the QuickSIN, Hearing in Noise Test (HINT), and the Acceptable Noise Level (ANL). Subjective data was obtained using the Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing short form (SSQ-12), satisfaction ratings and preference. Data was analyzed using one-way repeated measures ANOVA. Results: Speech perception results did not reveal significant differences between technology level on the HINT or QuickSIN; however, ANL values were significantly improved for the premium devices. Subjective results revealed significantly improved satisfaction for speech in a large group and overall preference when using premium technology. Conclusions: Group data revealed similar outcomes between technology levels on most measures; however, noise acceptance, satisfaction for speech in a large group, and overall preference were significantly improved when using the premium devices. Individual characteristics such as noise acceptance, age, and degree of hearing loss may be useful when comparing hearing aid technology levels for new hearing aid users.



Publication History

Received: 28 June 2021

Accepted after revision: 15 October 2021

Accepted Manuscript online:
20 October 2021

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