Hearing Aid Usage in Different Listening Environments
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
This study investigates the listening environments of hearing aid users by employing the data logging capacity of their hearing aids. The idea that a hearing aid user's listening environments are important in prescribing desired hearing aid features has been discussed in the literature, however, investigation of listening environments has been limited in the past as it has relied mainly on subjective recordings. Data logging, the capacity of a hearing aid to continuously store information regarding time spent in different programs, listening environments, and microphone modes, is now available in a number of hearing aid models, and therefore provides an objective tool for studying a hearing aid user's listening environments. The data logging information from fifty-seven new hearing aid wearers, including 50 males and 7 females (mean age = 68 years, SD = 11.3), was obtained during the first routine clinic follow-up session for each individual. Measures of time spent in different listening environments, microphone modes, and overall sound levels, were analyzed. Hearing aid usage time was found to be highest in "Speech Only" situations (44.8%), followed by "Quiet" (26.7%), "Noise Only" (16.3%) and "Speech in Noise" (12.3%) situations. The majority of the hearing aid users' time was spent in "Surround" microphone mode (74.3%), followed in order by "Split" (22.3%) and "Full" (3.5%) directional modes. Results of two separate two-way ANOVAs revealed no significant age effect either on time spent in different listening environments [F(3,49) = 0.7, p= 0.5] or on time spent in different microphone modes [F(3,20) = 0.6, p= 0.6]. These findings provide empirical evidence regarding the general listening pattern of hearing aid users, which can be used as a starting point when troubleshooting problems experienced by hearing aid clients, or assessing a user's need for various hearing aid features.