Perceived Occlusion and Comfort in Receiver-in-the-Ear Hearing Aids Purpose This study examined self-perceived occlusion and physical comfort ratings by hearing aid users with receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids using different sizes of domes. Method Twenty-one older adults with hearing impairment were fitted with bilateral RITE hearing aids and tested with 3 dome conditions (open, plus, and power ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2013
Perceived Occlusion and Comfort in Receiver-in-the-Ear Hearing Aids
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sara Conrad
    James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Ayasakanta Rout
    James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Sara Conrad: conradsa@dukes.jmu.edu
  • Editor: Sheila Pratt
    Editor: Sheila Pratt×
  • Associate Editor: Gabrielle Saunders
    Associate Editor: Gabrielle Saunders×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2013
Perceived Occlusion and Comfort in Receiver-in-the-Ear Hearing Aids
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 283-290. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/11-0025)
History: Received August 16, 2011 , Revised February 7, 2012 , Accepted April 8, 2013
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 283-290. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/11-0025)
History: Received August 16, 2011; Revised February 7, 2012; Accepted April 8, 2013

Purpose This study examined self-perceived occlusion and physical comfort ratings by hearing aid users with receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids using different sizes of domes.

Method Twenty-one older adults with hearing impairment were fitted with bilateral RITE hearing aids and tested with 3 dome conditions (open, plus, and power domes) and 1 control condition (participants' own aids). Participants ranked self-perceived occlusion across dome size conditions and across recorded and own voice conditions. Participants also ranked their level of physical comfort across dome sizes.

Results Self-perceived occlusion increased as dome size increased, with open domes and participants' own aids resulting in the least amount of occlusion. Although this effect was demonstrated in both recorded and own voice conditions, the effect of dome size was greatest in the own voice test conditions. Perceived physical comfort decreased as dome size increased.

Conclusions Self-perceived occlusion was greatest for power domes, although average level of occlusion did not exceed moderate occlusion on the rating scale. Perceived physical comfort was highest with the open dome and participants' own aids. Plus and power domes were respectively ranked as more uncomfortable than open domes.

Acknowledgments
This research was sponsored by a grant from the Roger Ruth Memorial Fund of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at James Madison University. We thank Oticon for providing the hearing aids, receivers, and domes, and we thank Robert Hinkle for his assistance in recruiting participants.
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