A Comparison of Personal Sound Amplification Products and Hearing Aids in Ecologically Relevant Test Environments Purpose The aim of this study was to compare the benefit of self-adjusted personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) to audiologist-fitted hearing aids based on speech recognition, listening effort, and sound quality in ecologically relevant test conditions to estimate real-world effectiveness. Method Twenty-five older adults with bilateral mild-to-moderate hearing ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   September 18, 2018
A Comparison of Personal Sound Amplification Products and Hearing Aids in Ecologically Relevant Test Environments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lisa Brody
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Yu-Hsiang Wu
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Elizabeth Stangl
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 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 Yu-Hsiang Wu: yu-hsiang-wu@uiowa.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar×
  • Editor: Ryan McCreery
    Editor: Ryan McCreery×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   September 18, 2018
A Comparison of Personal Sound Amplification Products and Hearing Aids in Ecologically Relevant Test Environments
American Journal of Audiology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-18-0027
History: Received February 2, 2018 , Revised April 5, 2018 , Accepted June 13, 2018
 
American Journal of Audiology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJA-18-0027
History: Received February 2, 2018; Revised April 5, 2018; Accepted June 13, 2018

Purpose The aim of this study was to compare the benefit of self-adjusted personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) to audiologist-fitted hearing aids based on speech recognition, listening effort, and sound quality in ecologically relevant test conditions to estimate real-world effectiveness.

Method Twenty-five older adults with bilateral mild-to-moderate hearing loss completed the single-blinded, crossover study. Participants underwent aided testing using 3 PSAPs and a traditional hearing aid, as well as unaided testing. PSAPs were adjusted based on participant preference, whereas the hearing aid was configured using best-practice verification protocols. Audibility provided by the devices was quantified using the Speech Intelligibility Index (American National Standards Institute, 2012). Outcome measures assessing speech recognition, listening effort, and sound quality were administered in ecologically relevant laboratory conditions designed to represent real-world speech listening situations.

Results All devices significantly improved Speech Intelligibility Index compared to unaided listening, with the hearing aid providing more audibility than all PSAPs. Results further revealed that, in general, the hearing aid improved speech recognition performance and reduced listening effort significantly more than all PSAPs. Few differences in sound quality were observed between devices. All PSAPs improved speech recognition and listening effort compared to unaided testing.

Conclusions Hearing aids fitted using best-practice verification protocols were capable of providing more aided audibility, better speech recognition performance, and lower listening effort compared to the PSAPs tested in the current study. Differences in sound quality between the devices were minimal. However, because all PSAPs tested in the study significantly improved participants' speech recognition performance and reduced listening effort compared to unaided listening, PSAPs could serve as a budget-friendly option for those who cannot afford traditional amplification.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by a grant awarded to Yu-Hsiang Wu from the Retirement Research Foundation.
Portions of this paper were presented at the annual meeting of the American Auditory Society, March, 2017, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, and the annual meeting of the Iowa Speech and Hearing Association, October, 2017, Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
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