Nivedha Rao1, Vikas Mysore Dwarakanath1, Prawin Kumar1
1All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru, India
The use of multichannel compression hearing aids would optimize the audibility across different frequencies. There are several reports in literature that have tried to explore the effect of increasing the number of channels of hearing aid on speech perception. The opinions regarding the usefulness of more or less number of channels showing improvement or deterioration in speech perception are having mixed opinion. Hence the present study aimed to see the effect of number of channels on hearing aid prescription across difference age groups. A total of 1606 individuals with age ranging from 0.3 to 97 years (mean age 45.8 years) were included in the present study who were evaluated with complete audiological evaluation procedures and were given a hearing aid trial with various hearing aids. The hearing aids were prescribed based on the trial performance and the subjective selection. The age wise data was divided into 0-18 years considered as children, 19-35 years as young adults, 36-60 years as middle aged adults, and greater than 61 years as older adults. The retrospective analysis of data revealed that children with hearing loss were preferred to have better performance with higher channel hearing aids varying from 8-9 channels to 16 channels. The young adults preferred to use the hearing aids with 6-9 channels. While middle and older adults preferred for 4-6 channel hearing aids. As the age advanced, the preferred number of channels decreased. This infers that the individuals were comfortable with the speech processing with lesser number of channels as advanced in age and found to be beneficial to them.