Pilot Comparison of Adjustment Protocols of Personal Sound Amplification Products

Nicholas S Reed, Antoinette Oliver, Nirmal Kumar Srinivasan, Frank R Lin, Peggy A Korczak
Seminars in Hearing 2019, 40 (1): 26-36
The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 was signed into law in August 2017 and facilitates the introduction of direct-to-consumer sales of hearing aids for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Among many questions surrounding over-the-counter sales is the ability of users to self-fit amplification. Many studies have conducted self-fitting procedures using guidance materials provided by audiologists. In this pilot, we explore the ability of users to self-adjust personal sound amplification devices using only materials provided by the manufacturer and contrast this with models that involve a hearing professional. Outcomes to assess adjustments included clinic-based speech-in-noise measures and ability to approximate NAL-NL2 prescriptive targets. We found that an audiologist-driven model provided the best outcomes. However, it is unknown if the difference is clinically meaningful.

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