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Presentations at Internet and Audiology 2019 – BEAR Project

Presentations at Internet and Audiology 2019

There were two presentations from the BEAR project at the Internet and Audiology conference in Southampton, June 17-19, 2019:

Sentence-based experience-logging in new hearing aid users

K. Lund1, R. Ordoñez1, J. B. Nielsen2 and D. Hammershøi1

1Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
2Hearing Systems Section, Dept. of Health Technology, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Patients often experience hearing difficulties despite the use of HA (hearing aids). The difficulties may be related to a number of auditory and non-auditory factors such as benefit, comfort, maintenance etc. It is difficult for both the patient and the audiologist to know, if the fitting and the given outcome is the best possible. The sound may be experienced differently in the clinic compared to daily life and the knowledge and skills related to hearing aid use vary largely from patient to patient. The aim of the present study is to gain insight into the daily experiences of new hearing aid users, which may shed light on aspects of aided performance, which may not be unveiled through standard questionnaires or during consultation.
Data is collected online and consists of more than 400 pre-fabricated sentences representing experiences related to HA use. The sentences have been developed based on observations, involvement of experts, and inspired by elements from validated questionnaires. Patients are asked to relate to each experience (sentence) on a regular basis over a period of two months. The method is designed as a pass-time activity, where the patients swipe through the randomly presented experiences, and select the ones they have had recently.
The sentences are expected to evoke the memory of recent experiences in the patients and at the same time provide a language to describe these. The two-month data-logging is expected to elucidate the short- and long-term challenges of each patient and thus provide a useful feedback – and maybe adjustment – tool in a follow-up situation.

The work is on-going. Data will be analyzed and if feasible, summarized in a feedback tool for the professionals for a two-month follow-up.

The study is part of BEAR project funded by Innovation Fund Denmark and partners (incl. Oticon, GN Resound and Widex). Funding and collaboration is sincerely appreciated.


Out-of-clinic diagnostics of hearing impairment

P. Rye, R. Ordoñez, D. Hammershøi

Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

The potential benefits of out-of-clinic diagnostics are manifold: it may be used to alleviate clinically trained personnel where resources are scarce, it may reduce the need for travel and it allows for increased privacy and discretion for the potentially hearing impaired, who may see a self-administered hearing test as the first step toward accepting the need for a hearing aid. However, one of the inherent problems of such test situations is the lack of control over the user behaviour and the test environment. With respect to the latter, the exact characteristics of the equipment used may not be known or available for routine checks and calibration. Background noise levels may pose a problem in some environments, and be a problem for subjects with audiometric thresholds near normal hearing level at some frequencies. Several strategies can be applied to overcome these challenges. Some types of hearing impairment can be characterized using supra-threshold methods that are more robust to background noise and calibration issues. The background noise level may be passively or actively suppressed, or monitored and applied to discard or repeat unreliable measurements.

The purpose of present study is to study the feasibility of selected out-of-clinic test strategies, and in a first evaluation the effect of each is quantified in laboratory assessments, where the key variables can be controlled. A platform consisting of a tablet-based automated paradigm using commercially available active noise cancelling headphones will be used. The accuracy of the procedures in real-life scenarios are determined by comparing the outcome with clinically determined audiometric measures. How well the test subjects manage the test will also be assessed, and benchmarks from a usability point of view will be collected.

This work was supported by Innovation Fund Denmark Grand Solutions 5164-00011B (Better hEAring Rehabilitation project), Oticon, GN Resound, Widex and other partners (Aalborg University, University of Southern Denmark, the Technical University of Denmark, Force, Aalborg, Odense and Copenhagen University Hospitals). Funding and collaboration is sincerely acknowledged.