Benefit From, Satisfaction With, and Cost-Effectiveness of Three Different Hearing Aid Technologies Clinical decision-making has become more complex as newer, more costly, hearing aid (HA) technologies become available. The expanding array of more expensive HAs demands that clinical researchers continue to justify the value of these instruments relative to the substantial increase in cost to both the provider and consumer. In the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1998
Benefit From, Satisfaction With, and Cost-Effectiveness of Three Different Hearing Aid Technologies
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Craig W. Newman, PhD
    Section of Communicative Disorders/A71, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195
  • Sharon A. Sandridge
    Section of Communicative Disorders/A71, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: Newmanc@cesmtp.ccf.org
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1998
Benefit From, Satisfaction With, and Cost-Effectiveness of Three Different Hearing Aid Technologies
American Journal of Audiology, October 1998, Vol. 7, 115-128. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(1998/021)
History: Received June 5, 1998 , Accepted September 21, 1998
 
American Journal of Audiology, October 1998, Vol. 7, 115-128. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(1998/021)
History: Received June 5, 1998; Accepted September 21, 1998

Clinical decision-making has become more complex as newer, more costly, hearing aid (HA) technologies become available. The expanding array of more expensive HAs demands that clinical researchers continue to justify the value of these instruments relative to the substantial increase in cost to both the provider and consumer.

In the present report, 25 current conventional HA users with adult onset of sensorineural hearing loss were fitted with: (a) a one-channel linear HA; (b) a two-channel, nonlinear HA; and (c) a seven-band, two-channel digital signal processing (DSP) HA. All instruments were mini behind-the-ear units with identifying information removed from the cases. Subjects wore each HA for at least a 1-month period.

A set of laboratory (Speech Perception in Noise [SPIN] test; audibility index calculated from real-ear measurements) and self-report (Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit; Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly/Adults; Knowles Hearing Aid Satisfaction Survey; preference ratings) outcome measures were used to evaluate the benefit from, satisfaction with, and cost-effectiveness of each test HA. As expected, there were statistically significant differences between unaided and aided conditions across HAs.

Although the DSP instrument yielded significantly higher word recognition scores on the SPIN test, no differences were observed among the test HAs for the standardized self-report measures. In contrast, however, more than 75% of the subjects preferred the “higher end” instruments. Yet, 33% of the subjects changed their preference for the “higher end” instruments after being informed of costs. A cost-effectiveness model for evaluating the relationship between HA retail purchase price and improvements in performance/benefit is presented.

Acknowledgment
This project was supported by a clinical research grant awarded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHF). The authors thank Lisa Sabina for assistance in data collection, Amrik Shah for the statistical analysis of the data, and Donald M. Goldberg for his insightful comments.
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