Purpose: To examine the role of compliance in the outcomes of computer-based auditory training with the Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) program in Veterans using hearing aids.
Method: The authors examined available LACE training data for 5 tasks (i.e., speech-in-babble, time compression, competing speaker, auditory memory, missing word) from 50 hearing-aid users who participated in a larger, randomized controlled trial designed to examine the efficacy of LACE training. The goals were to determine: (a) whether there were changes in performance over 20 training sessions on trained tasks (i.e., on-task outcomes); and (b) whether compliance, defined as completing all 20 sessions, vs. noncompliance, defined as completing less than 20 sessions, influenced performance on parallel untrained tasks (i.e., off-task outcomes).
Results: The majority, 84% of participants, completed 20 sessions, with maximum outcome occurring with at least 10 sessions of training for some tasks and up to 20 sessions of training for others. Comparison of baseline to posttest performance revealed statistically significant improvements for 4 of 7 off-task outcome measures for the compliant group, with at least small (0.2 < d < 0.3) Cohen's d effect sizes for 3 of the 4. There were no statistically significant improvements observed for the noncompliant group.
Conclusion: The high level of compliance in the present study may be attributable to use of systematized verbal and written instructions with telephone follow-up. Compliance, as expected, appears important for optimizing the outcomes of auditory training. Methods to improve compliance in clinical populations need to be developed, and compliance data are important to report in future studies of auditory training.