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Effectiveness of Directional Microphones and Noise Reduction Schemes in Hearing Aids: A Systematic Review of the Evidence
07 August 2020 (online)
A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to find evidence of real-world effectiveness of directional microphone and digital noise reduction features in current hearing aids. The evidence was drawn from randomized controlled trials, nonrandomized intervention studies, and descriptive studies. The quality of each study was evaluated for factors such as blinding, power of statistical analyses, and use of psychometrically strong outcome measures. Weaknesses in the identified studies included small sample size, resultant poor power to detect potentially worthwhile differences, and overlapping experimental conditions. Nine studies were identified for directional microphones, and the evidence (albeit weak) supports effectiveness. Two studies were identified for the noise reduction feature, and the evidence was equivocal. For the researcher, such a systematic review should encourage the careful consideration of appropriate methodologies for assessing feature effectiveness. For the clinician, the outcomes reported herein should encourage use of such a systematic review to drive clinical practice.