Each year, May is celebrated as Better Hearing and Speech Month. ASHA use the event to raise awareness of both communication disorders and their life altering treatments.
This year’s theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.” With this in mind, we are exploring the real world benefits of hearing aids beyond better speech understanding.
More Than Speech Understanding
A recent study took 10 participants who had no prior use of hearing aids. The participants were then asked to use an ‘ecological momentary’ app on their smartphone to describe their listening events. According to the study: “Over the four-week data collection period, the participants didn’t wear hearing aids for the first and last weeks, and wore bilateral, open-dome mini-behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids programmed to meet their insertion gain targets for the middle two weeks.”
Participants were requested to complete at least 3 surveys a day. They input information about their listening activities, such as when they were conversing with 3 people or fewer, when they were listening to music, watching TV, and so on. From the 10 participants, over 800 individual listening experience surveys were gathered.
Participants were asked to rate their listening experience using four measures:
- How much speech was understood
- How much effort was involved with the listening experience
- Enjoyment of listening experience
- How much communication was hindered by hearing difficulty
Before the study, each participant was asked to rate their opinion of hearing aids. 3 gave a negative score, 3 were neutral and only 4 were positive about the devices.
At the end of the study, these scores had altered and all 10 were generally or slightly positive.
According to the study, “As a group, the participants with mild hearing impairment reported a small degree of benefit from the use of hearing aids in improved speech understanding, reduced listening effort, being less hampered by hearing difficulties, and increased listening enjoyment.”
What Does This Mean?
The results of the study highlight that hearing aids provide more real world benefits that go beyond better speech understanding. Reduced listening effort, reduced hampering of communication and improved listening experiences were all demonstrated to be benefits of hearing aid use. All the more reason to treat a hearing loss with hearing aids.
At Anderson Audiology, our hearing care professionals understand the benefits that a hearing aid can provide. If you’d like to discuss how hearing aids may help improve your quality of life, book an appointment with us today. Call us on 702-997-2964, or click here to request an appointment online.