Acceptable noise level as a predictor of hearing aid use

J Am Acad Audiol. 2006 Oct;17(9):626-39. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.17.9.2.


Acceptable noise level (ANL) measures a listener's reaction to background noise while listening to speech. Relations among hearing aid use and ANL, speech in noise (SPIN) scores, and listener characteristics (age, gender, pure-tone average) were investigated in 191 listeners with hearing impairment. Listeners were assigned to one of three groups based on patterns of hearing aid use: full-time use (whenever hearing aids are needed), part-time use (occasional use), or nonuse. Results showed that SPIN scores and listener characteristics were not related to ANL or hearing aid use. However, ANLs were related to hearing aid use. Specifically, full-time hearing aid users accepted more background noise than part-time users or nonusers, yet part-time users and nonusers could not be differentiated. Thus, a prediction of hearing aid use was examined by comparing part-time users and nonusers (unsuccessful hearing aid users) with full-time users (successful hearing aid users). Regression analysis determined that unaided ANLs could predict a listener's success of hearing aids with 85% accuracy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Audiometry, Speech
  • Female
  • Hearing Aids / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hearing Loss / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise*
  • Perceptual Masking / physiology*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome