Authors: Plyler PN, Fleck EL
Title: The Effects of High-Frequency Amplification on the Objective and Subjective Performance of Hearing Instrument Users with Varying Degrees of High-Frequency Hearing Loss
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2006 49(3): 616-627
Year: 2006
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 03/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - N
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to determine if amplifying beyond 2 kHz affected the objective and subjective performance of hearing instrument users with varying degrees of mild-to-severe high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Method: Twenty participants were fitted binaurally with digital completely-in-the-canal devices with 4-channel wide dynamic range compression (Starkey Axent). Each participant used the hearing instruments for two 6-week trial periods. Each hearing instrument was programmed to maximize high-frequency audibility during 1 trial period and minimize high-frequency audibility during the other trial period. Objective evaluations were conducted in quiet using the Connected Speech Test (CST) and in noise using the CST and the Hearing in Noise Test. Subjective performance was evaluated by administering the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit and a questionnaire. Results: Results indicated that high-frequency amplification significantly improved objective performance in noise and subjective preference in quiet for listeners with varying degrees of mild-to-severe high-frequency hearing loss. Results also suggested that high-frequency amplification may affect subjective preference in noise and overall for listeners with varying degrees of mild-to-severe high-frequency hearing loss when feedback is eliminated. Conclusion: Based on these significant benefits, dispensers should be aware that high-frequency amplification should, at least initially, be provided to the affected high-frequency regions when mild-to-severe hearing loss is present.

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