Tag Archives: hearing loss

Do Patients with Severe Hearing Loss Benefit from Directional Microphones?

This update concludes the series on patient outcomes with severe hearing loss. The reviewed article discusses outcomes with directional microphones as well as the value of audio-visual cues.


Ricketts, T.A., & Hornsby, B.W.Y. (2006). Directional hearing aid benefit in listeners with severe hearing loss. International Journal of Audiology, 45, 190-197.

Spectral iQ

This paper introduces a new method for frequency lowering in hearing aids. Many individuals with high-frequency hearing loss do not have access to the highest frequency components of speech. Technologies such as Spectral iQ are designed to move the highest frequency information to lower frequencies, which for most patients results in increased audibility for those sounds.

Spectral iQ Technical Paper

Galster, J.A., Valentine, S., Dundas, J.A., & Fitz, K. (2011). Spectral iQ: Audibly improving access to high-frequency sounds. Starkey Laboratories, Inc. Technology Paper.

Are you prescribing an appropriate MPO?

Appropriate prescription of MPO is an often overlooked parameter. A fair amount of research exists that would suggest inappropriate application of MPO will significantly decrease the likelihood of hearing aid acceptance. In this article review Dr. Kuk and colleagues discuss some possible negative outcomes related to the under-prescription of MPO. The authors go on to suggest that the addition of digital noise reduction may mitigate some of these negative outcomes.


Kuk, F., Peeters, H., Korhonen, P. & Lau, C. (2010). Effect of MPO and noise reduction on speech recognition in noise. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, submitted November 2010.

Are our fine-tuning adjustments consistent with the patient’s complaints?

In this throwback to 2003 Jenstad and colleagues completed a study that evaluated consistency in interpretation of patient complaints and the actions that would be taken to address these complaints. Their findings show excellent agreement between the interpretation and subsequent actions made by two independent groups of survey respondents.


Jenstad, L.M., Van Tasell, D.J. & Ewert, C. (2003). Hearing aid troubleshooting based on patient’s descriptions. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 14 (7).

Recommendations for fitting patients with cochlear dead regions

Clinically many audiologists may struggle with deciding how to best to prescribe hearing aids when a patient has been diagnosed with cochlear dead regions. The September blog update discusses a recent article from Dr. Robyn Cox and colleagues at the University of Memphis. The authors completed a large scale study, evaluating some outcomes for patients who were diagnosed with cochlear dead regions. Their conclusions offer direction for the fitting of hearing aids.


Cox, R.M., Alexander, G.C., Johnson, J. & Rivera, I. (2011).  Cochlear dead regions in typical hearing aid candidates: Prevalence and implications for use of high-frequency speech cues. Ear & Hearing 32 (3), 339-348.

A preferred speech stimulus for testing hearing aids

Do you use a speech stimulus when testing hearing aids? With so many options for real-ear measures it’s difficult to select between noise, synthetic speech or real speech. Each of which may yield different measurement results. Ideally we would have a standardized speech stimulus for testing hearing aids. This month’s post summarizes the development of the International Speech Test Signal (ISTS) a speech stimulus designed for testing hearing aids. Within a few years this stimulus should be available in most real-ear equipment and can currently be regarded as the preferred stimulus for the verification of modern hearing aids.

Holube, I., Fredelake, S., Vlaming, M. & Kollmeier, B. (2010). Development and analysis of an international speech test signal (ISTS). International Journal of Audiology, 49, 891-903.


Does expansion decrease low level speech understanding?

In our June blog post Dr. Stevens and I review:

Brennan, M., & Souza, P. (2009). Effects of expansion on consonant recognition and consonant audibility.Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 20, 119-127.


Expansion algorithms decrease hearing aid output at very low input levels improving comfort and avoiding amplification of low level environmental sounds (like the refrigerator). In this article the authors document decreased speech understanding when using aggressive expansion. The importance of validated expansion logic is highlighted by these observations.

The DSL 5.0a is a successful fitting formula for adults

This month’s article review discusses:

Fit to Targets, Preferred Listening Levels, and Self-Reported Outcomes for the DSL v5.0a Hearing Aid Prescription for Adults

Polonenko, M.J., Scollie, S.D., Moodie, S., Seewald, R.C., Laurnagaray, D., Shantz, J. & Richards, A. (2010) Fit to targets, preferred listening levels and self-reported outcomes for the DSL v5.0a hearing aid prescription for adults. International Journal of Audiology 49, 550-560.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario completed a clinical validation study of the DSL 5.0a. The outcomes suggest that the adult target generation provides appropriate loudness and beneficial outcomes for a range of hearing loss and listening environments.



Impact of Classroom Noise on Children’s Listening

This month’s article review discusses:

Howard, C. S., Munro, K. & Plack, C. J. (2010). Listening effort at signal-to-noise ratios that are typical of the school classroom.  International Journal of Audiology, 49, 928-932.


It’s no surprise that classroom noise impacts children’s speech understanding, attention and learning ability. Researchers at Cambridge and Manchester universities documented the listening effort required for children between the ages of 9 and 12 to listen at noise levels found in typical classrooms. The authors conclude that increasing noise level increases the effort that students must expend when listening to their teachers.

Understanding the benefits of bilateral hearing aids

This month’s article review discusses:

A Prospective Multi-Centre Study of the Benefits of Bilateral Hearing Aids

Boymans, M., Goverts, S.T., Kramer, S.E., Festen, J.M. & Dreschler, W.A. (2008). A prospective multi-centre study of the benefits of bilateral hearing aids. Ear and Hearing 29(6), 930-941.


For many people that work in hearing related professions it’s difficult to believe that someone in need of two hearing aids would consider using a single hearing aid. This is an outdated philosophy. Yet some governments only provide a single hearing aid to those in need of two, often citing outdated or ancillary literature. The authors of this study do an excellent job, with a large group of participants, of documenting some benefits of using two hearing aids.