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Volume 46 Number 5, 2009
   Pages 603 — 618

Abstract – Real-world benefit from directional microphone hearing aids

David Gnewikow, PhD;1* Todd Ricketts, PhD;2 Gene W. Bratt, PhD;3 Laura C. Mutchler, AuD4

1Advanced Hearing Solutions, Mount Juliet, TN; 2Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN; 3Department of Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN; 4Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis, TN

Abstract — This article summarizes data from a 3-year, double-blinded study of directional hearing aid benefit. Ninety-four subjects in three hearing loss groups, all previous users of omnidirectional output-compression hearing aids, completed all aspects of the study. Participants were fit with new hearing aids for 1 month in a directional mode and 1 month in an omnidirectional mode. Following 1 month of use, subjects completed a number of objective and subjective measures of hearing aid outcome. Objective and subjective data were analyzed across hearing aid and hearing loss conditions. Subjects in all hearing loss groups exhibited better performance in the directional conditions for objective speech-in-noise measures; however, subjective data did not indicate a clear advantage for directional amplification. Results and clinical implications are discussed.

Key words: benefit, directional microphones, hearing, hearing aids, hearing loss, noise, objective benefit, signal-to-noise ratio, speech understanding, subjective benefit.

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