COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Comparison of three procedures for initial fitting of compression hearing aids. III. Inexperienced versus experienced users

Josephine Marriage, Brian C J Moore, José I Alcántara
International Journal of Audiology 2004, 43 (4): 198-210
15250124
We assessed whether gain requirements differ for experienced users and new users when fitted with multi-band compression hearing aids Three procedures for initial fitting were used: the Cambridge method for loudness equalization (CAMEQ), the Cambridge method for loudness restoration (CAMREST), and the desired sensation level input/output (DSL[i/o]) method. Twenty experienced hearing aid users and 20 new users with mild-to-severe sensorineural loss were fitted with Danalogic 163D digital hearing aids, using each procedure in turn in a counter-balanced order. The new users were given a pre-fitting with slightly reduced gains prior to the 'formal' fitting. Immediately after formal fitting with a given procedure, and 1 week after fitting, the gains were adjusted by the minimum amount necessary to achieve acceptable fittings. The amount of adjustment required provided the main measure of the adequacy of the initial fitting. On average, new users required decreases in gain for all procedures, the decreases being larger for DSL[i/o] than for CAMEQ or CAMREST. For experienced users, gain adjustments were small for CAMEQ and CAMREST, but were larger and mostly negative for DSL[i/o]. After these gain adjustments, users wore the aids for at least 3 weeks before filling out the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) questionnaire and taking part in laboratory measurements of the speech reception threshold (SRT) for sentences in quiet and in steady and fluctuating background noise at levels of 60 and 75 dBSPL. The scores on the APHAB test and the SRTs did not differ significantly for the three procedures. We conclude that the CAMEQ and CAMREST procedures provide more appropriate initial fittings than DSL[i/o]. For inexperienced users, gains typically need to be reduced by about 3dB relative to those prescribed by CAMEQ or CAMREST, although the amount of reduction may depend on hearing loss. An analysis of gain adjustments as a function of order of testing provided some evidence for increased tolerance to high-frequency amplification with increasing experience during the 4-month course of the trial, but this effect did not differ for the experienced and new users.

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