The Acoustic Environments in Which Older Adults Wear Their Hearing Aids: Insights From Datalogging Sound Environment Classification.

Research paper by Larry E LE Humes, Sara E SE Rogers, Anna K AK Main, Dana L DL Kinney

Indexed on: 30 Sep '18Published on: 30 Sep '18Published in: American journal of audiology


This report presents data on the acoustic environments in which older adults with age-related hearing loss wear their hearing aids. This is an observational study providing descriptive data from 2 primary datasets: (a) 128 older adults wearing hearing aids for an average of 6 weeks and (b) 65 older adults wearing hearing aids for an average of 13 months. Acoustic environments were automatically and continuously classified about every 4 s, using the hearing aids' signal processing, into 1 of 7 acoustic environment categories. For both groups, older adults wore their hearing aids about 60% of the time in quiet or speech-only conditions. The automatic classification of sound environments was shown to be reliable over relatively short (6-week) and long (13-month) durations. Moreover, the results were shown to have some validity in that the obtained acoustic environment profiles matched a self-reported measure of social activity administered prior to hearing aid usage. For a subset of 56 older adults with data from both the 6-week and 13-month wear times, the daily amount of hearing aid usage diminished but the profile of sound environments frequented by the wearers remained stable. Examination of the results from the automatic classification of sound environments by the hearing aids of older adults provides reliable and valid environment classifications. The present data indicate that most such wearers choose generally favorable acoustic environments for hearing aid use.