Graduation Year

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Au.D.

Degree Granting Department

Audiology

Major Professor

Theresa Hnath-Chisolm

Keywords

hearing aids, auditory perception, APHAB, long term benefit, hearing aids

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the stability of hearing aid benefit, as measured by the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB; Cox & Alexander, 1995), between three months post hearing aid fitting and at next the annual audiological re-evaluation. The annual re-evaluation was at least, and as close to nine months as possible, after the previous audiological. The maximum time between the two evaluations was 18 months. Thirty-six hearing aid patients participated in this study. The participants were both male andfemale, and were fitted monaurally or binaurally with hearing aid(s). All participants had sensorineural hearing loss with no ongoing or permanent conductive or retrocochlear pathology. The APHAB scale was administered at the three month hearing aid check (HAC) and again at the annual audiometric re-evaluation.

Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with length of time between the three month hearing aid check (HAC) and the next audiological re-evaluation as a covariate, was used to examine the main effects of time of administration and subscale [e.g., ease of communication (EC), reverberant conditions (RV), background noise (BN), and aversiveness of sounds (AV) and their interactions. Results revealed a significant reduction in the mean benefit scores between the 3-month HAC and annual re-evaluation APHAB administration. It is hypothesized that the causal factor of the decrease in benefit in the EC, RV, & BN are multifactorial.

These reductions in benefits may be do to the Hawthorne effect, unrealistic hearing aid benefit expectations by the participants, or a heightened expectation of hearing aid benefit due to the financial expense. It should also be noted, however, that using the 90% confidence interval for "true" clinical benefit, 21 of the participants maintained stable benefit over the course of the study. Finally, although not statistically significant, the fourth APHAB scale, aversiveness of sounds (AV), improved over time.

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