Objective: To develop and evaluate a shortened version of the Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit, to be called the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit, or APHAB.
Design: The Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (PHAB) is a 66-item self-assessment, disability-based inventory that can be used to document the outcome of a hearing aid fitting, to compare several fittings, or to evaluate the same fitting over time. Data from 128 completed PHABs were used to select items for the Abbreviated PHAB. All subjects were elderly hearing-impaired who wore conventional analog hearing aids. Statistics of score distributions and psychometric properties of each of the APHAB subscales were determined. Data from 27 similar subjects were used to examine the test-retest properties of the instrument. Finally, equal-percentile profiles were generated for unaided, aided and benefit scores obtained from successful wearers of linear hearing aids.
Results: The APHAB uses a subset of 24 of the 66 items from the PHAB, scored in four 6-item subscales. Three of the subscales, Ease of Communication, Reverberation, and Background Noise address speech understanding in various everyday environments. The fourth subscale, Aversiveness of Sounds, quantifies negative reactions to environmental sounds. The APHAB typically requires 10 minutes or less to complete, and it produces scores for unaided and aided performance as well as hearing aid benefit. Test-retest correlation coefficients were found to be moderate to high and similar to those reported in the literature for other scales of similar content and length. Critical differences for each subscale taken individually were judged to be fairly large, however, smaller differences between two tests from the same individual can be significant if the three speech communication subscales are considered jointly.
Conclusions: The APHAB is a potentially valuable clinical instrument. It can be useful for quantifying the disability associated with a hearing loss and the reduction of disability that is achieved with a hearing aid.