School of Communication Sciences and Disorders Speech Perception Assessment Laboratory

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Subjective and Objective Assessment of Hearing Aid Outcomes

Procedures currently used for evaluating hearing aids have fallen short of the goal of accurately assessing a listener’s speech perception capabilities. Neither verification methods that determine whether hearing aids provide adequate gain according to prescriptive techniques nor validation methods that summarize patients’ subjective perceptions of hearing aid benefit are sufficient by themselves. In this project, selected objective and subjective outcome measures are being evaluated that have the best likelihood of providing the desired information about hearing aid benefit. Newer speech recognition tests that were developed with appropriate standardization are being evaluated along with subjective measures of self report that have been rigorously tested and validated for measuring hearing aid benefit. The effectiveness of both these objective and subjective outcome measures will then be evaluated and compared to determine their accuracy in documenting speech perception capabilities. Based on pilot data (Mendel, 2007) it is anticipated that at least some of the newly developed speech recognition materials will be sensitive enough to demonstrate objective hearing aid benefit and that their results will correlate well with patients’ subjective perceptions of that benefit on specific self-report measures. This project will verify that if both objective and subjective assessments are truly valid, then both types of outcomes will provide similar results. 

The results of this project will more clearly define the relationship between objective and subjective outcome measures in an attempt to better define true hearing aid benefit. Thus, the long-term objective of this project is to be able to make recommendations to clinicians regarding the inclusion of appropriate speech recognition tests and self-report measures as an integral part of the hearing aid evaluation process. The results of this study will not only make the clinician’s job easier, but they will also provide the needed evidence that such outcomes are valid regarding assessment of subjective and objective speech perception performance with hearing aids.

From Mendel, L.L. (2007).  Objective and Subjective Hearing Aid Assessment Outcomes, American Journal of Audiology, 16, 118-129.

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Our MA and AUD programs are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Last Updated: 10/9/12