Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Wednesday, July 01, 2020 at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?

Advertisement

Currently submitted to: JMIR mHealth and uHealth

Date Submitted: Nov 5, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Nov 5, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Feasibility of smartphone-based hearing-aid apps for patients with mild hearing loss: an exploratory pilot study

  • Willy Nguyen; 
  • Miseung Koo; 
  • Seung Ha Oh; 
  • Jun Ho Lee; 
  • Moo Kyun Park

ABSTRACT

Background:

Underuse of hearing aids is caused by several factors, including the stigma associated with hearing disability, affordability, and lack of awareness of rising hearing impairment associated with the growing population. Thus, there is a significant opportunity for the development of direct-to-consumer devices. For the past few years, smartphone-based hearing-aid apps have become more numerous and diverse, but few studies have investigated them.

Objective:

This study aimed to elucidate the electroacoustic characteristics and potential user benefits of a selection of currently available hearing-aid apps.

Methods:

We investigated the apps based on hearing-aid control standards (American National Standards Institute) using measurement procedures from previous studies. We categorized the apps and excluded those we considered inefficient. We investigated a selection of user-friendly, low-end apps, EarMachine and Sound Amplifier, with warble-tone audiometry, word recognition testing in unaided and aided conditions, and hearing-in-noise test in quiet and noise-front conditions in a group of users with mild hearing impairment (n = 7) as a pilot for a future long-term investigation. Results from the apps were compared with those of a conventional hearing aid.

Results:

Five of 14 apps were considered unusable based on low scores in several metrics, while the others varied across the range of electroacoustic measurements. The apps that we considered “high end” that provided lower processing latencies and audiogram-based fitting algorithms were superior overall. The clinical performance of the listeners tended to be better when using hearing aid, while the low end hearing-aid apps had limited benefits on the users.

Conclusions:

Some apps showed the potential to benefit users with limited cases of minimal or mild hearing loss if the inconvenience of relatively poor electroacoustic performance did not outweigh the benefits of amplification.


 Citation

Please cite as:

Nguyen W, Koo M, Oh SH, Lee JH, Park MK

Feasibility of smartphone-based hearing-aid apps for patients with mild hearing loss: an exploratory pilot study

JMIR Preprints. 05/11/2020:25527

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.25527

URL: https://preprints.jmir.org/preprint/25527

Download PDF


Request queued. Please wait while the file is being generated. It may take some time.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.