Candidacy for Bilateral Hearing Aids: A Retrospective Multicenter Study Purpose The goal of this study was to find factors for refining candidacy criteria for bilateral hearing aid fittings. Clinical files of 1,000 consecutive hearing aid fittings were analyzed. Method Case history, audiometric, and rehabilitation data were collected from clinical files, and an extensive questionnaire on long-term outcome ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2009
Candidacy for Bilateral Hearing Aids: A Retrospective Multicenter Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Monique Boymans
    Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • S. Theo Goverts
    VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Sophia E. Kramer
    VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Joost M. Festen
    VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Wouter A. Dreschler
    Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Contact author: Monique Boymans, Academic Medical Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Audiology, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: m.boymans@amc.nl.
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2009
Candidacy for Bilateral Hearing Aids: A Retrospective Multicenter Study
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 130-140. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0120)
History: Received June 7, 2007 , Accepted May 11, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 130-140. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0120)
History: Received June 7, 2007; Accepted May 11, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose The goal of this study was to find factors for refining candidacy criteria for bilateral hearing aid fittings. Clinical files of 1,000 consecutive hearing aid fittings were analyzed.

Method Case history, audiometric, and rehabilitation data were collected from clinical files, and an extensive questionnaire on long-term outcome measures was conducted. After at least 2 years of hearing aid use, 505 questionnaires were returned. In order to compare differences in benefits between unilateral and bilateral fittings, two subgroups were composed in which most relevant variables (age, degree of hearing loss, and audiometric asymmetry) were matched for unilateral fittings (n = 212) and bilateral fittings (n = 477).

Results The bilateral group had significantly higher benefit scores than the unilateral group for detection, speech intelligibility in reverberation, and localization, but poorer scores for comfort of loud sounds. The benefit of bilateral hearing aids was not significantly related to the level of technology of the hearing aids.

Conclusion The analysis of the relation between objective parameters and the subjective outcome measures showed that candidacy for a successful bilateral fitting could not be predicted from age, maximum speech intelligibility, employment, exposure to background noise, or social activities.

Acknowledgments
This study was carried out by eight audiological centers that participated in the Platform for Audiological Clinical Testing (PACT), funded by the Health Care Insurance Board and the Dutch Ministry of Health. The authors would like to thank colleagues from the audiological centers in Amersfoort, Amsterdam (SACA), Hoensbroek, Leiden, Nijmegen, Sint. Michielsgestel, Rotterdam (EuMC), and Tilburg. We thank Johannes Borgstein for correcting the English text. In addition, the authors are grateful to their Academic Medical Center (AMC) colleagues Arjo Rozeboom, Reina Pool, and László Körössy for their indispensable support in this project.
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