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BEHAVIORAL EVALUATION OF 3 SMARTPHONE-BASED HEARING AID APPS FOR PATIENTS WITH MILD HEARING LOSS: AN EXPLORATORY PILOT STUDY
MİSEUNG KOO, WİLLY NGUYEN, JUN HO LEE, SEUNG HA OH, MOO KYUN PARK
The Journal of International Advanced Otology - 2022;18(5):399-404
Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavioral performance of a selection of currently available hearing aid apps in patients with mild hearing loss. METHODS: We investigated 3 user-friendly hearing aid apps (EarMachine, Sound Amplifier, and Petralex) with real-ear measurement, warbletone audiometry, word recognition testing in unaided and aided conditions, and hearing-in-noise tests in quiet and noise-front conditions in a group of users with mild hearing impairment (n=7) as a pilot for a future long-term investigation. Results from the apps were compared with those of a conventional hearing aid. Results: Hearing aids showed greater gain at 1 and 3 kHz than hearing aid apps in real-ear insertion gain of real-ear measurements. Hearing aids tended to have greater gain than hearing aid apps at 2 and 3 kHz in the sound field audiometry test. The clinical performance of the listeners tended to be better when using a hearing aid and Petralex (13% and 6% improvement in word recognition score, respectively), while EarMachine and Sound Amplifier conferred limited user benefit. The hearing aid apps did not improve signal-to-noise ratio in comparison with the unaided condition in the hearing-in-noise test. Conclusions: Some hearing aid apps were beneficial for patients with mild hearing loss in terms of amplification, but participants using the apps showed no improvements in hearing-in-noise tests.

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