Auditory tests to characterize individual hearing deficits: The BEAR test battery

Sanchez Lopez, R. (Guest lecturer), Fereczkowski, M. (Guest lecturer), Federica Bianchi (Guest lecturer), Mouhamad El-Haj-Ali (Guest lecturer), Tobias Neher (Guest lecturer), Dau, T. (Guest lecturer), Santurette, S. (Guest lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations

Description

Background
The Better hEAring Rehabilitation (BEAR) project pursues the development and assessment of new clinically feasible strategies for individual hearing-loss diagnosis and hearing-aid fitting. The aim is to improve the current clinical practice, where the fitting process relies on the pure-tone audiogram and trial-and-error methods, which usually leads to inconsistent practices and thus lack of satisfaction and inefficient service. Existing evidence suggests that the audiogram does not sufficiently describe supra-threshold performance of hearing-impaired listeners. Detailed characterization of hearing deficits can be complex. Therefore, one aim of the BEAR project is to design a hearing test battery for classification of listeners into a small number of auditory profiles. If successful, this BEAR test battery may be refined and reduced to form the basis for improved profile-based hearing-aid fitting protocols.
Method
Based on the reanalysis of existing auditory profiling data and on criteria of their feasibility, time efficiency and evidence from literature, a list of eleven tests with potential for inclusion in a clinical test battery were selected. The proposed tests were divided into six categories: audibility, middle-ear analysis, speech perception, binaural-processing abilities, loudness perception, and spectro-temporal resolution. Thirty hearing-impaired listeners with symmetric mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss were selected from a clinical population of hearing-aid users and performed all tests included in the battery. The participants were tested in a clinical environment and did not receive systematic training for any of the tasks.
Results
The considered tests have so far shown potential for auditory profiling. The analysis of the preliminary results will focus on the ability of each test to pinpoint individual differences among the participants, interrelations among the tests, as well as their usability for the relevant clinical population. Importantly, a parallel study will also evaluate the extent to which their outcomes can be used for hearing-aid fitting. Finally, the current test battery is expected to be reduced and implemented in a clinical version, based in the results of a data-driven analysis for auditory profiling.
Period17 Aug 2018
Held atInternational Hearing Aid Conference 2018
Event typeConference
LocationTahoe, United States, California
Degree of RecognitionInternational