Sreeram K. Narayanan1, Anne Wolff3, Sabina S. Houmoeller4,5, Li-Tang Tsai5, Dan Hougaard2,3, Michael Gaihede2,3, Jesper H. Schmidt4,5, Dorte Hammershøi1
1Department of Electronics System, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
2Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
3Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
4Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
5Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Adjustments to hearing aid (HA) are customarily performed according to patients’ preference either during or after fitting. The adjustments can be either functional or peripheral. Some patients seek immediate help due to a higher degree of challenges or dissatifisfaction with HA performance. However, most do not seek help in due time, which could delay HA rehabilitation. The adjustment timeline and the type of adjustments performed can provide insight into the patients’ behavior and preferences. It would also be worthy of understanding the relationship between the time of adjustments and self-reported outcomes. In the Better hEAring Rehabilitation (BEAR) project, information about adjustments performed within the first two months of initial fit, during two months follow-up visit, and any adjustments thereafter and within one year of fitting were collected using a non-standardized questionnaire. Data from 617 HA users who answered all the questions in the abbreviated version of the Speech, Spatial, and Quality of Hearing (SSQ-12) questionnaire and the International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids (IOI-HA) gathered during two months follow-up visit and one-year follow-up, were included in the analysis. The users were divided into eight groups according to the time of HA adjustment. Results show that most of the patients got their hearing aid adjusted during the follow-up visit, indicating a high prevalence of intention or the need for HA adjustment when given an opportunity. This is supported by fewer people adjusting the HA after the two-month follow-up visit. Patients who had their HAs adjusted at various timelines reported significantly lower IOI-HA Factor 1, IOI-HA Factor 2, and SSQ speech domain scores than patients who had no adjustments during the first year of use with the initial fit. Thus, the study establishes the relation between HA adjustments and self-reported outcomes, emphasizing the importance of a correct initial fit and follow-up in rehabilitation.

Acknowledgements: Collaboration and support by Innovation Fund Denmark (Grand Solutions 5164-00011B); Oticon, G.N. Hearing, Widex-Sivantos Audiology and other partners (Aalborg University Hospital, Odense University Hospital, Aalborg University, Technical University of Denmark, FORCE Technology; and, Copenhagen University Hospital) is sincerely acknowledged.