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Presentation at ARO 2019 – BEAR Project

Presentation at ARO 2019

At the 42nd Annual MidWinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology on February 9-13, 2019, the on-going work in the area of the Centralized Clinical Database was presented by Anne Wolff:

The Better Hearing Rehabilitation (BEAR) Study in Denmark. Study Population Characteristics and Perspectives

Anne Wolff1, Sabina Storbjerg Houmøller2, Gérard Loquet3, Jesper Hvass Schmidt2, Vijay Narne4, Michael Gaihede5, Dan Dupont Hougaard6, Dorte Hammershøi7

1Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology, Aalborg University hospital
2Dept. of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology, Odense University Hospital, Dept. of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense Patient data Explorative Network (OPEN), Region of Southern Denmark
3Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University
4Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark
5Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology, Aalborg University Hospital, Department of Clinical Medicine, The Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University
6Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology, Aalborg University Hospital, Department of Clinical Medicine, The Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University
7Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University

A recent report from WHO noted that 360 million people in the world have hearing loss. Despite efforts to provide hearing aids (HA) to people in need, hearing loss remains an unmet need. In Denmark, for example, 20% of HA owners do not use their HA regularly which results in wasted clinical resources and a lack of rehabilitation. To improve the treatment, we propose to revise diagnostic techniques and HA fitting practices based on individual hearing profiles, set of expectations, and lifestyles. To achieve this, a cooperative project “BEAR” has been launched between three national universities, three hospitals, and the HA industry in Denmark. This resulted in the building of a database of over 30,000 patient records, collected by two audiologic departments (Aalborg and Odense, Denmark), from January 2017 until April 2018 from 1,963 hearing impaired patients. Data obtained describe procedures which are currently used in clinical audiology across Denmark and allow to explore which measures are available for each patient and what type of HA fitting they have received. Records consisted of audiometric data (air and bone conduction, uncomfortable levels, speech reception thresholds speech discrimination scores, stapedius reflex and tympanometry, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory), quality of life evaluation using questionnaires (health related quality of life [15-D], Health Related Questionnaires, Charlson Comorbidity Index), HA outcome measures using questionnaires (Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing scale [SSQ-12], International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids [IOI-HA]) and HA fitting data (HA types, log data, fitting rationale and real-ear measurements). The database has a gender ratio of 126 males for 100 females, a mean age at 67 years (range from 19 to 100 years) and a mean hearing threshold in the better hearing ear of 40 dB HL (four frequencies average). 71.9 percent of the patients are first time HA users, as against 28.1 percent for patients with previous HA experience. Preliminary analyses show on average significant improvement in hearing abilities with HA (from IOI-HA and SSQ-12). However, substantial number of participants (18%) did not derive enough benefit from HA. Further analysis will be directed towards finding the possible reasons and grouping the participants based on HA benefit, demographic and audiological data. This will enable us to identify the areas, among contemporary standard examinations and hearing fitting strategies, which would be relevant to explore, change or further develop to provide a better HA fitting and thereby a greater user satisfaction.