Tag Archives: hearing

Cognitive benefits of digital noise reduction

A number of studies have suggested that activating digital noise reduction in hearing aids may improve performance on tasks that are associated with cognitive capacity. This change in performance is attributed to a reduction in effort required for effective listening. This study from Desjardins and Doherty is one of the first to reveal these effects in a sample of participants with hearing loss.

Read More

Desjardins, J. & Doherty, K. (2014). The effect of hearing aid noise reduction on listening effort in hearing-impaired adults. Ear and Hearing 35 (6), 600-610.

Top 5 Hearing Aid Research Publications from 2014!


Over the last year, we were presented with audiology research that spanned topics related to engineering, clinical expectations, and statistical exercises for predictive or retrospective analyses. This selection of articles is representative of that diversity, highlighting articles that present new models for speech quality, describing third-party perception of hearing aid use, and several that peel away layers obscuring the complexity of adapting to new hearing aid use.

1. The Hearing Aid Effect in 2013

Hearing aid use carries stigma: this is a fact that all people with hearing loss, researchers, and audiologists understand. It’s safe to say that there is a generalized assumption that the adoption of body-worn technology will eventually erode the stigmatizing effect of hearing aid use. During this study, adults were asked to rate their perception of a person wearing several styles of ear-level devices, including hearing aids, earphones, and a Bluetooth headset. While the observed differences could be considered moderate, there were no perceived differences between a person wearing hearing aids and those not wearing hearing aids. The authors propose that this observation indicates a more positive perception of hearing aid use, as compared to earlier studies.

Rauterkus, E., & Palmer, C. (2014). The Hearing Aid Effect in 2013. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 25, 893-903.

Read More

2. Dynamic relation between working memory capacity and speech recognition in noise during the first 6 months of hearing aid use

Attempting to clearly interpret past research in the area of adaptation to new hearing aids is a complex proposition. Some studies offer conflicting results, even questioning the nature of the adaptation effect. This is one of several studies in recent years that have looked at measures of cognition as they relate to new hearing aid use. The authors find that working memory demands (a form of functional short-term memory) changed over 6-months. The implications of these observations are increased cognitive demands at the time of the first hearing aid fitting, as patients work to interpret newly audible cues.

Ng, E., Classon, E., Birgitta, L., Arlinger, S., Lunner, T., Rudner, M., & Ronnberg, J. (2014). Dynamic relation between working memory capacity and speech recognition in noise during the first 6 months of hearing aid use. Trends in Hearing, 18, 1-10.

Read More

3. Factors associated with success with hearing aids in older adults

This large-scale assessment tracked the outcomes of patients through a battery of 16 measurements, both subjective and objective. A number of valuable clinical factors were identified as linking to hearing aid success. Three of these factors stand out as providing excellent clinical insight. Firstly, the role of a supportive spouse is extremely important; secondly, the patient must be able to confidently manipulate the hearing aids themselves; finally, patients fit with hearing aids at prescriptively appropriate gains are more successful than those who are fit far below the prescription. Some of these observations have been made in previous studies but this one is the first to succinctly report them with modern hearing aids.

Hickson, L., Meyer, C., Lovelock, K., Lampert, M., & Khan, A. (2014). Factors associated with success with hearing aids in older adults. International Journal of Audiology, 53, S18-S27.

Read More

4. The Hearing-Aid Speech Quality Index (HASQI) Version 2

The optimization and verification of hearing aid signal processing algorithms is greatly eased by our ability to model (or predict) a person’s perception of changes in the processed sound. The HASQI is a tool that allows for the prediction of changes in sound quality though the comparison of two recordings, one unprocessed sample that is used as a reference and a second processed sample. This recent revision to the original HASQI works well to overcome some limitations of the first iteration.

Kates, J., & Arehart, K. (2014) The Hearing-Aid Speech Quality Index (HASQI) Version 2. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 62(3), 99-117.

Read More

 5. A 3-pack on the acclimatization conundrum

This package of three articles is being presented as one (on the list). Individually, each offers a small but meaningful insight into the topic of adapting to new hearing aid use. As all three were published from the same lab during 2014, they offer a collective series of insights that will impact all future work in this area. In brief, the investigators sought to document acclimatization effects through several metrics, including a round of focus group interviews. Their objective observations showed mild effects of experience with hearing aids, while the focus group interviews reinforce expectations that adjusting to hearing aids is an experience that extends beyond the perception of amplified sound alone.

Dawes, P., Maslin, M., & Munro, K. (2014). ‘Getting used to’ hearing aids from the perspective of adult hearing-aid users. International Journal of Audiology, 53, 861-870.

Read More

Dawes, P., Munro, K., Kalluri, S., & Edwards, B. (2014). Auditory acclimatization and hearing aids: Late auditory evoked potentials and speech recognition following unilateral and bilateral amplification. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135(6), 3560-3569.

Read More

Dawes, P., Munro, K., Kalluri, S., & Edwards, B. (2014). Acclimatization to Hearing Aids. Ear and Hearing, 32(2), 203-212.

Read More

On the Prevalence of Cochlear Dead Regions

As more information is gained about prevalence and risk factors, what remains missing are clinical guidelines for management of hearing aid users with diagnosed high-frequency dead regions. Conflicting recommendations have been proposed for either limiting high frequency amplification or preserving high frequency amplification and working within prescribed targets. The data available today suggest that prevalence of contiguous multi-octave dead regions is very low and only a smaller subset of hearing aid users with contiguous dead regions experience any negative effects of high-frequency amplification.

Read more

2013 Pediatric Amplification Guidelines for Clinical Practice

The American Academy of Audiology has approved the 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for Pediatric Amplification. Creation of these guidelines reflects diligent collaboration among 15 experts over three years time. This substantive revision is the first since 2003 and includes updates that reflect the current state of hearing aid technology and clinical knowledge in pediatrics.

AAA 2013 Pediatric Amp Guidelines

The Master Hearing Aid

An upcoming issue of Trends in Amplification will include an article that I had the pleasure of writing with Jim Curran. Jim has been in practice for over 40 years and holds the distinction of being one, if not the first, audiologist to fit hearing aids in a private practice setting. A distinction that, in the early 1970’s, resulted in his dismissal from the American Speech and Hearing Association. A striking illustration of how times have changed.

In this article we discuss a nearly forgotten history of the Master Hearing Aid. Long before probe microphone measurement and prescriptive formulae, these early systems were used to simulate the listening experience of hearing aids. Jim has done an excellent job of capturing this history and taking the reader from these earliest days of hearing aid fitting to the modern techniques used today.

Read: The Master Hearing Aid

On the Value of Real-Ear Measurement in the Fitting of Hearing Aids

Welcome spring with an article on the value of real ear measurement. This month we reviewed an article from Dr. Harvey Abrams and colleagues in which they showed that a patients fit to verified prescriptive targets report significantly superior outcomes to those that are left at the first-fit settings.

Read More

Recent Publications

Several submissions were printed over the last few months. These span topics from remote hearing aid programming to the prescription of hearing aids in cases of cochlear dead regions.

  • Galster, J.A., (2012). Prescribing hearing aids for cochlear dead regions, The Hearing Journal, 65(11), 16-18. Read Article 
  • Galster, J.A. & Stevens, K. (2012). What’s New About NAL-NL2? Hearing Review, 19(9), 28-31. Read Article
  • Galster, J.A., & Abrams, H.B. (2012). Are you ready for remote hearing aid programming? Hearing Review, 19(10), 26-28. Read Article
  • Galster, J.A. & Abrams, H.B. (2012, July/August). Connected Health: Bridging the patient and professional, ENT & Audiology News, 73-74. Read Article
  • Galster, J.A. (2012). Apps for audiology. Audiology Practices, 4(3), 16-19. Read Article

A quick summary on the benefits of bilateral hearing aid use

Here’s a quick summary on the benefits of bilateral hearing aid use. This is the last in the series on bilateral vs. unilateral hearing aids. The next series will focus on outcome measures, ranging from tried and true with the SSQ to new and spry with the TFI.

October Blog

Mencher, G.T. & Davis, A. (2006). Bilateral of unilateral amplification: is there a difference? A brief tutorial.International Journal of Audiology 45 (S1), S3-11.

Can preference for one or two hearing aids be predicted?

This month’s update is the second in a series reviewing differences in outcomes with unilateral and bilateral hearing aids.

Noble, W. (2006). Bilateral hearing aids: A review of self-reports of benefit in comparison with unilateral fitting. International Journal of Audiology, 45(Supplement 1), S63-S71.


True or False? Two hearing aids are better than one.

This month we discuss a new JAAA article from McArdle, Killion, Mennite, and Chisolm. The authors review existing literature and discuss newly collected data that highlight differences in the benefits of unilateral and bilateral hearing aid fitting. This will be the first in a series reviewing research findings that compare outcomes in unilateral and bilateral hearing aid fitting.

McArdle, R., Killion, M., Mennite, M. & Chisolm, T. (2012).  Are Two Ears Not Better Than One? Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23, 171-181.