Opinion of Hearing Aid Users about the Sound Quality with the Nonlinear Frequency Compression Algorithm
Introduction: Hearing aids with nonlinear frequency compression promote the displacement of high-frequencies in the region of low-frequencies, making the higher sounds audible, while reducing the audible spectrum, with the sounds been perceived in a distorted manner.
Objective: The study aims to investigate the views of elderly people about the sound quality of hearing aids with and without activation of the nonlinear frequency compression algorithm during the process of selection of hearing aids.
Patients and Method: The study included 46 elderly patients with sensorineural hearing loss from mild-to-moderate degrees with descendant configuration. After the test of hearing aids with and without nonlinear frequency compression enabled, the subjects answered a questionnaire developed for this purpose, with questions regarding the sound quality from the aspects of comfort while listening to the sounds, clarity of sounds, the naturalness while listening to the sounds and their own voice naturalness.
Results: The aspect of naturalness in own voice, only showed statistically significant results (Wilcoxon test, p-value ≤ 0.05) since the subjects noticed the difference in this point, when there was an activation of the nonlinear frequency compression algorithm. In other aspects, there was no difference between the subjects; most patients reported the sound quality as being "very good" regardless of the activation of nonlinear frequency compression.
Conclusion: The opinion of the subjects revealed that the sound quality aspects analyzed in this study were not affected by the activation of nonlinear frequency compression, except for the aspect of naturalness in their own voice.