By Gardner Audiology
September 15, 2013
Gardner Audiology has interviewed over 3000 hearing aid users about their satisfaction with the performance of their hearing aids in various difficult listening situations such as church, moving vehicles, television group gatherings and restaurants.
Opinions shared on pre and post fitting questionnaires are very revealing and help us match a person with the correct hearing aid technology.
When we evaluated hearing aid performance we found that all models of major brand hearing aids, even the least expensive, deliver satisfactory sound in the presence of mechanical noise such as moving vehicles or air conditioner noises. A person with a quiet lifestyle may be perfectly satisfied with an inexpensive hearing aid that is properly fitted by an audiologist. Who you see is much more important than the cost of your hearing aid or the noise suppression technology that it offers.
Upper level advanced hearing aid technologies deliver significantly better understandable sound quality in group listening situations and noisy environments such as restaurants. In our most recent hearing aids in noise study, 105 participants felt that a more expensive hearing aid with 16 sound processing channels provided twice the performance in these difficult listening situations as compared to a less expensive hearing aid with 6 channels. Most manufactures provide an increased number of channels and additional noise suppression features in their upper levels of hearing aid technology.
I think the most important finding of our hearing aids in noise study is how the consumers’ satisfaction with hearing aids in noise computes with their decision to buy the hearing aids. Almost everyone we fit with hearing aids perceives an improved ability to hear in noisy environments but only 65% perceive enough benefit to justify purchasing hearing aids. We cannot predict who will buy hearing aids regardless of how well they hear. No one should buy hearing aids until they actually have the chance to wear them in real life listening situations.
Contact Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 if you would like to participate in a hearing aid field study.