The high cost of hearing aids is a major barrier underlying low treatment rates for hearing loss. Self-fitting of amplification can reduce the cost of service delivery and follow-up by allowing users to adjust amplification for their hearing needs and listening environments. The goal of this project is to determine the efficacy of self- fitting protocols by which users can (1) make initial adjustments to the electroacoustic and signal-processing characteristics of amplification and (2) modify those characteristics on the basis of experience, and in response to changing acoustic environments. The project involves interdisciplinary collaboration between audiologists, hearing scientists, and engineers. In the R21 phase, we will evaluate the efficacy of a self-adjustment protocol using a computer simulation with built-in sounds. Simultaneously, we will develop a system with ear-level assemblies and on-line speech processing capabilities. In the R33 phase, modifications to the self-fitting protocol will be evaluated, with the goal of optimizing outcomes while maintaining simplicity for independent operation by novice users. In parallel, engineering will incorporate the findings into a wearable device and add sound-input characterization and noise-management features. The sound-input characterization feature will collect and log sound-input data before, during and after user self-adjustment. Efficacy of the wearable system will be evaluated in the laboratory and in field studies: 1) to compare objective and subjective outcomes for self-adjusted and audiologist-adjusted settings, and 2) to evaluate self-adjustment patterns in everyday environments and determine the influence of acoustic input and user-related factors such as sound tolerance, personality, and working memory.

Public Health Relevance

Over 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss yet 80% of those with permanent hearing loss do not receive adequate treatment. A major barrier is the cost of hearing amplification. User-adjusted self-fit amplification will lower costs and improve satisfaction by reducing the need for repeat professional follow-up visits and by allowing users to optimize amplification for their own listening environments.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants Phase II (R33)
Project #
5R33DC015046-04
Application #
9620023
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
Program Officer
King, Kelly Anne
Project Start
2017-01-01
Project End
2020-12-31
Budget Start
2019-01-01
Budget End
2019-12-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2019
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
San Diego State University
Department
Type
DUNS #
073371346
City
San Diego
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92182
Lee, Ching-Hua; Kates, James M; Rao, Bhaskar D et al. (2017) Speech quality and stable gain trade-offs in adaptive feedback cancellation for hearing aids. J Acoust Soc Am 142:EL388
Mackersie, Carol L; Kearney, Lucia (2017) Autonomic Nervous System Responses to Hearing-Related Demand and Evaluative Threat. Am J Audiol 26:373-377
Boothroyd, Arthur; Mackersie, Carol (2017) A ""Goldilocks"" Approach to Hearing-Aid Self-Fitting: User Interactions. Am J Audiol 26:430-435