Is the outcome of fitting hearing aids to adults affected by whether an audiogram-based prescription formula is individually applied? A systematic review protocol

Ibrahim Almufarrij, Harvey Dillon, Kevin J. Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Hearing aids are typically programmed using the individual's audiometric thresholds. Developments in technology have resulted in a new category of direct-to-consumer devices, which are not programmed using the individual's audiometric thresholds. This review aims to identify whether programming hearing aids using the individual's audiogram-based prescription results in better outcomes for adults with hearing loss.

Methods and Analysis: The methods of this review are reported in line with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols guidelines. On 23 August 2020, eight different databases were systematically searched without any restrictions: EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Emcare and Academic Search Premier. To ensure that this review includes the most recent evidence, the searches will be repeated at the final write-up stage. The population of interest of this review will be adults with any degree or type of hearing loss. The studies should compare hearing aids programmed using an audiogram-based prescription (and verified in the real ear) with those not programmed on the basis of the individual's audiogram. The primary outcome of interest is consumers' listening preferences. Hearing-specific health-related quality of life, self-reported listening ability, speech intelligibility of words and sentences in quiet and noisy situations, sound quality ratings and adverse events are the secondary outcomes of interest. Both randomised and non-randomised controlled trials will be included. The quality of each individual study and the overall evidence will be assessed using Downs and Black's checklist and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations tool, respectively.

Ethics and Dissemination: We will only retrieve and analyse data from published studies, so no ethical approval is required. The review findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at scientific conferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere045899
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 20201 Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • adult
  • hearing aids
  • hearing loss
  • hearing tests
  • humans
  • prescriptions
  • quality of life
  • research design
  • review literature as topic


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