Comparison of Three Premium Products: Does Design Philosophy Matter?By Hayes, Donald; Eddins David A.; Hearing Review, Vol. 15, No. 13, pp. 24-30
Publication Date: December 2008
Study compared performance and perceived satisfaction of hearing aids from three manufacturers having different design philosophies. The study was undertaken in light of hearing instruments being more often differentiated on the basis of software algorithms than hardware platforms. Six experienced hearing aid wearers, ranging in age from 38 to 86 years, with symmetric sensorineural hearing loss participated in the study. Participants were fitted with 3 sets of hearing aids using the manufacturers' own fitting software. Instrument A was a traditional fully automatic premium product allowing the fitter to make adjustments only to a single base program destination in the automatic mode. Instrument B was a device relying on wireless connectivity and featuring self-learning for the user-adjustable volume control. Instrument C was configurable by both the fitter and the wearer, allowing configuration of four listening destinations in the automatic mode. Hearing aids were worn for 3 weeks each in randomized order, whereupon participants completed speech perception tests and questionnaires. Study results showed large differences in perceived performance and satisfaction between the instruments. Instrument A was consistently given significantly poorer ratings. For overall rating, Instrument B and Instrument C were almost interchangeable; however, Instrument C never received a low rating. Tests of speech reception indicated that all three aids performed equally well in quiet and co-located noise, but Instrument C outperformed the other two by a wide margin in spatially separated noise. The study concludes that the devices, based on widely different design philosophies, also demonstrated considerable difference in performance.
Published by: Ascend Media LLC (Website:http://www.ascendmedia.com)
Link to text: http://www.hearingreview.com/issues/articles/2008-12_03.asp