OBJECTIVE: Despite high rates of bilateral hearing aid fitting globally, a number of adults continue to reject one hearing aid. The current study aimed to identify a clinically suitable tool for determining, pre-fitting, which clients might prefer one hearing aid.
Study Sample: Ninety-five new adult hearing aid candidates, aged 49-87 years, were assessed prior to a first hearing aid fitting. Sixty-eight participants adhered to the prescribed protocol for both bilateral and unilateral hearing aid use.
DESIGN: Performance was assessed on a modified version of the Listening in Spatialised Noise - Sentences test (LiSN-S), the Dichotic Digits difference Test, the Experiential Hearing Aid simulator, and the Grooved Pegboard Test. All participants were fitted bilaterally, but were instructed to alternate between unilateral and bilateral hearing aid use over fourteen weeks post-fitting. Participants' wearing preferences were assessed via a short questionnaire.
RESULTS: 78% of participants expressed an overall preference for bilateral hearing aid use. Only the LiSN-S bilateral advantage test outcomes significantly correlated with overall wearing preference.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the LiSN-S bilateral advantage score related to overall wearing preference, the accuracy of the predictor was too low to warrant implementation of this test prior to hearing aid fitting. The current practice of recommending bilateral hearing aid use continues to be the best option for clinicians.
- binaural interference
- wearing preference
- hearing aids