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Choice of treatment evaluated after trial periods with bone conduction devices and contralateral routing of sound systems in patients with single-sided deafness.

OBJECTIVES: Patients with single-sided deafness (SSD) may experience difficulties with speech perception in noise, sound localization, have tinnitus and experience a reduced quality of life (QoL). contralateral routing of sound hearing aids (CROS) or bone conduction devices (BCD) may partly improve subjective speech communication and QoL in SSD patients. A trial period with these devices can help in making a well-informed choice of treatment. Our aim was to evaluate factors influencing the choice of treatment made after a BCD and CROS trial period in adult SSD patients.

METHODS: Patients were randomized in the: "first BCD, then CROS" or "first CROS, then BCD" trial period group. After the BCD on headband and CROS were tested for 6 weeks each, patients choose for BCD, CROS or no treatment. Primary outcome was the distribution of choice of treatment. Secondary outcomes included the association between the choice of treatment and patient characteristics, reasons for treatment acceptance or rejection, device usage during the trial periods, and disease-specific QoL outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 91 patients randomized, 84 completed both trial periods and made their choice of treatment: 25 (30%) BCD, 34 (40%) CROS, and 25 (30%) no treatment. No characteristics were found to be related to choice of treatment. Top three reasons for acceptance or rejection were: device (dis)comfort, sound quality and (dis)advantage of subjective hearing. Average daily device use during the trial periods was higher for CROS than for BCD. Choice of treatment was significantly related with both duration of device usage and greater improvement of QoL after the corresponding trial period.

CONCLUSION: The majority of SSD patients preferred BCD or CROS over no treatment. Evaluating device usage, discussing treatment (dis)advantages and disease-specific QoL outcomes after trial periods are to be considered during patient counseling and could facilitate whether to choose one of these treatments.


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