The Effectiveness of Over the Counter Hearing Products for Middle-Aged Adults

2018-05-07 14:51:14 | BioPortfolio


The investigators will examine the effectiveness of selected over-the-counter personal sound amplifiers in addressing functional hearing problems in middle-aged listeners with mild hearing loss. Many people are unlikely to pay several thousand dollars for hearing aids but they likely would be more willing to try a possible solution that is less expensive. When faced with counseling these individuals, audiologists are at a loss regarding whether or not to suggest that they try this type of technology, since there is virtually no research available to verify that these devices actually are helpful, particularly for individuals with mild hearing loss. The hypothesis being tested is that personal sound amplifiers can improve functional hearing and decrease cognitive load in complex auditory environments.


The field trials in this project will require you to use OTC hearing devices for a specified period of time in both ears simultaneously, and in just one ear, with periodic lab-based re-evaluation. Each field trial will continue until asymptotic performance is identified (up to a maximum of 12 weeks). You will return to the lab for assessment every 2 weeks. During each visit, speech perception and subjective listening effort will be assessed. Depending upon the specific field trial, the investigators also will complete measures of cognitive load (via dual-task paradigms), spatial release from masking, and localization ability during each lab visit.

Study Design


Hearing Loss, Functional


over-the-counter hearing device


University of Massachusetts Amherst
United States


Not yet recruiting


University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2018-05-07T14:51:14-0400

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Hearing loss without a physical basis. Often observed in patients with psychological or behavioral disorders.

Hearing loss due to exposure to explosive loud noise or chronic exposure to sound level greater than 85 dB. The hearing loss is often in the frequency range 4000-6000 hertz.

Hearing loss due to disease of the AUDITORY PATHWAYS (in the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM) which originate in the COCHLEAR NUCLEI of the PONS and then ascend bilaterally to the MIDBRAIN, the THALAMUS, and then the AUDITORY CORTEX in the TEMPORAL LOBE. Bilateral lesions of the auditory pathways are usually required to cause central hearing loss. Cortical deafness refers to loss of hearing due to bilateral auditory cortex lesions. Unilateral BRAIN STEM lesions involving the cochlear nuclei may result in unilateral hearing loss.

Hearing loss due to damage or impairment of both the conductive elements (HEARING LOSS, CONDUCTIVE) and the sensorineural elements (HEARING LOSS, SENSORINEURAL) of the ear.

Hearing loss in frequencies above 1000 hertz.

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