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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 42 Number 4, July/August 2005, Supplement 2
Pages 157 — 168


Abstract - Measuring hearing aid outcomes-Not as easy as it seems

Gabrielle H. Saunders, PhD;1* Teresa H. Chisolm, PhD;2 Harvey B. Abrams, PhD3

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, National Center for
Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR; 2Department of Communication
Sciences and Disorders, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 3Audiology and Speech Pathology, Bay Pines VA Medical Center, Bay Pines, FL
Abstract — Outcomes measurement in audiology has received much attention because of the need to demonstrate efficacy of treatment, provide evidence for third-party payment, carry out cost-benefit analyses, and justify resource allocation. Outcomes measurement shows the benefits obtained from a hearing aid and determines the costs of obtaining those benefits. In this article, we discuss why the seemingly simple issue of outcomes measurement is highly complex and the use of generic and disease-specific tools and the relationship between them; we also provide information regarding the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) system for selecting outcome measures. We then discuss factors complicating outcomes measurement, including discrepancies between clinically derived outcomes and functional outcomes, the ways clinicians can affect outcomes, and factors intrinsic to the patient that influence outcomes. We conclude that if the vision of moving quickly and efficiently from bench to chairside is to be realized, then clinicians must routinely measure hearing aid outcomes and researchers investigate their validity and usefulness.
Key words: audiology, hearing aid, hearing loss, International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health, measurement, outcome assessment (healthcare), outcomes, quality of life, treatment outcome, World Health Organization.

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