Evaluating digital combination hearing aid programmes for tinnitus

Chief investigator

Dr Magdalena Sereda

Study team

Professor Deborah Hall
Dr Jeff Davies

Funder

Oticon AS

Study period

2013-2014

Combination hearing aid devices are used when a patient needs amplification for a hearing loss, but also needs additional sound to reduce the perception of the tinnitus. One of the essential issues to be addressed is acceptability of the generated sound and tailoring of sound levels and patterns to account for the variability in the perception of tinnitus.  This tailoring is to:

Some combination devices provide a range of options to explore and individualise the device to particular preferences.

Our study evaluated the usability and relief from tinnitus provided by the different programmes that were available within a digital combination hearing aid. Eight experienced combination hearing aid users wore the device for two weeks. They were asked to try four different programmes in different listening situations.

We found a large variability between participants in the choice of programmes optimal for tinnitus relief in certain listening situations. Participants liked the flexibility and choice of different programmes and sounds offered within the device tested. The results of the study were presented at the British Academy of Audiology Annual Conference 2014.