Mengfan Wu1,2, Stine Christiansen1,2, Michal Feręczkowski1,2, Tobias Neher1,2
1Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
2Research Unit for ORL – Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Hearing aids (HA) are the main rehabilitation treatment for age-related hearing loss. However, HA users often obtain limited benefit from their devices, particularly in noisy environments, and thus many HA candidates do not use them at all. A possible reason for this could be that current HA fittings are audiogram-based, that is, they neglect supra-threshold factors. In an earlier study, an auditory profiling method was proposed as a basis for a more personalized HA fitting approach. This method classifies HA users into four profiles that differ in terms of hearing sensitivity and supra-threshold hearing abilities. Previously, HA users belonging to these profiles showed significant differences in terms of speech recognition in noise but not subjective assessments of speech-in-noise (SIN) outcome. Besides, large individual differences within some profiles were observed. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether cognitive factors can help explain these differences and improve aided outcome prediction. Thirty-nine older HA users completed three sets of tests in auditory abilities, cognitive abilities, and SIN perception. Principal component analyses were applied to extract the dominant sources of variance both within individual tests producing a large number of variables and within the three sets of tests. Multiple linear regression analyses performed on the extracted components showed that auditory factors were related to aided speech recognition but not subjective SIN assessments. Cognitive factors were unrelated to aided outcome. Overall, these findings do not support the idea of adding cognitive assessment in the profiling of HA candidates.