Assessment of Hearing Aid Benefit Using Patient-Reported Outcomes and Audiologic Measures

Audiol Neurootol. 2020;25(4):215-223. doi: 10.1159/000506666. Epub 2020 Apr 2.


Purpose: To determine the contributions to hearing aid benefit of patient-reported outcomes and audiologic measures.

Methods: Independent review was conducted on audiologic and patient-reported outcomes of hearing aid benefit collected in the course of a middle ear implant FDA clinical trial. Unaided and aided data were extracted from the preoperative profiles of 95 experienced hearing aid users, and the relationships between a patient-reported outcome and audiologic measures were assessed. The following data were extracted: unaided and aided pure-tone or warble-tone thresholds (PTA), word recognition in quiet (NU-6), Speech Perception in Noise (low-/high-context SPIN), and patient-reported benefit (Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit, APHAB). Hearing aid benefit was defined as the difference in thresholds or scores between unaided and aided conditions, as measured in the sound field. Correlations were computed among audiologic measures and global APHAB and subscale scores of hearing aid benefit.

Results: Significant improvements in all audiologic measures and APHAB scores were observed comparing unaided to aided listening (all p < 0.001). However, correlations between audiologic and patient-reported measures of aided performance or hearing aid benefit were low-to-weak or absent. No significant correlations were found between aided audiologic measures (PTA, NU-6, SPIN) and any aided APHAB scores (all p > 0.0125), and significant relationships for hearing aid benefit were absent with only few exceptions. Hearing aid benefit defined by global APHAB using NU-6 and SPIN scores showed significant but weak positive correlations (r = 0.37, p < 0.001; r = 0.28, p = 0.005, respectively) and ease of communication APHAB subscale scores (r = 0.32, p < 0.001; r = 0.33, p = 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion: Hearing aid benefit assessed with audiologic measures were poor predictors of patient-reported benefit. Thus, patient-reported outcomes may provide a unique assessment of patient-perceived benefit from hearing aids, which can be used to direct hearing aid programming, training, or recommendations of alternative hearing services.

Keywords: Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB); Audiologic measures; Hearing aid benefit; Patient-reported outcome measure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry*
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Female
  • Hearing Aids*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Speech Perception*
  • Young Adult