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Vol. 37 No. 4, July/August 2000


Fitting hearing aids with the Articulation Index: Impact on hearing aid effectiveness

Pamela E. Souza, PhD; Bevan Yueh, MD; Margaret Sarubbi, MS; Carl F. Loovis, PhD

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington; Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System and Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of Washington; Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System

Abstract — Although most clinical tests focus on how much a particular hearing aid improves speech audibility under controlled conditions, it is unclear how these measures relate to hearing aid effectiveness, or the benefit perceived by the patient under everyday conditions. In this study, the relationship between audibility and hearing aid effectiveness was examined in a cohort of patients who obtained hearing aids through the Veteran's Administration. The measure of audibility was the Articulation Index, a common index of speech audibility. Measures of effectiveness included two hearing-specific surveys and self-reported ratings of global satisfaction and hearing aid use adherence. Results indicated that there were no systematic relationships between measurements of improved audibility and patient ratings of communication ability. Additionally, improved audibility was not related to overall satisfaction with the amplification characteristics of the hearing aid (fitting). However, improved audibility is related to hearing aid use adherence, with patients who achieve better audibility reporting that they use their hearing aids more frequently.

Key words: audibility, effectiveness, hearing aid


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