Clustering Users Based on Hearing Aid Use: An Exploratory Analysis of Real-World Data

Alessandro Pasta*, Tiberiu-Ioan Szatmari, Jeppe Høy Christensen, Kasper Juul Jensen, Niels Henrik Pontoppidan, Kang Sun, Jakob Eg Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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While the assessment of hearing aid use has traditionally relied on subjective self-reported measures, smartphone-connected hearing aids enable objective data logging from a large number of users. Objective data logging allows to overcome the inaccuracy of self-reported measures. Moreover, data logging enables assessing hearing aid use with a greater temporal resolution and longitudinally, making it possible to investigate hourly patterns of use and to account for the day-to-day variability. This study aims to explore patterns of hearing aid use throughout the day and assess whether clusters of users with similar use patterns can be identified. We did so by analyzing objective hearing aid use data logged from 15,905 real-world users over a 4-month period. Firstly, we investigated the daily amount of hearing aid use and its within-user and between-user variability. We found that users, on average, used the hearing aids for 10.01 h/day, exhibiting a substantial between-user (SD = 2.76 h) and within-user (SD = 3.88 h) variability. Secondly, we examined hearing aid use hourly patterns by clustering 453,612 logged days into typical days of hearing aid use. We identified three typical days of hearing aid use: full day (44% of days), afternoon (27%), and sporadic evening (26%) day of hearing aid use. Thirdly, we explored the usage patterns of the hearing aid users by clustering the users based on the proportion of time spent in each of the typical days of hearing aid use. We found three distinct user groups, each characterized by a predominant (i.e., experienced ~60% of the time) typical day of hearing aid use. Notably, the largest user group (49%) of users predominantly had full days of hearing aid use. Finally, we validated the user clustering by training a supervised classification ensemble to predict the cluster to which each user belonged. The high accuracy achieved by the supervised classifier ensemble (~86%) indicated valid user clustering and showed that such a classifier can be successfully used to group new hearing aid users in the future. This study provides a deeper insight into the adoption of hearing care treatments and paves the way for more personalized solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number725130
JournalFrontiers in Digital Health
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

This article was submitted to Connected Health, a section of the journal Frontiers in Digital Health.


  • Data logging
  • User clustering
  • Ensemble classification
  • Hearing aid use amount,
  • Hearing aid use patterns
  • Hearing aids
  • Personalization


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