Preferred Hearing Aid Response Characteristics Under Acoustic and Telecoil Coupling Conditions


Telephone communication remains a major obstacle for hearing-impaired listeners. Even with the use of amplification, many hearing aid (HA) users report significant difficulty understanding telephone conversations. Although much effort has recently been focused on determining ideal HA performance for typical communication settings, less has been directed toward preferred HA responses during telephone coupling conditions. If one assumes that telecoil coupling strategies may require different HA performance characteristics because of line noise, filtering effects, coupling method, and output limitations imposed by the telephone system and receiver, then further study of listeners' preferred HA response characteristics under telecoil coupling conditions appears warranted.

This study evaluated the preferred real ear aided response (REAR) for a group of hearing-impaired listeners under acoustic and telecoil conditions when coupled to a standard telephone receiver. Findings revealed that subjects preferred substantially more low-frequency gain than would be predicted using three popular prescriptive formulae. In general, a gradually rising to flat response was preferred by most of the hearing-impaired listeners. Implications for HA fitting and management will be discussed.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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American journal of audiology