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Innovative ways hearing aids can be improved for clinical use - A Literature Review

Author(s): Ravinder Grewal | Dr John Irwin

Journal: Scottish Universities Medical Journal
ISSN 2049-8454

Volume: Epub;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Audiological Medicine | Hearing Aids

Background: Hearing aids have been vastly improved since the introduction of digital technology. However, there are several areas exist where further development can take place. There is currently no literature review focusing upon these potential hearing aid developments for patients with hearing problems.Objectives: To research aspects of hearing aids that can be further improved and evaluate the effectiveness of using head-related transfer functions by comparing headphone and sound-field standardised scores in terms of sound localisation.Search strategy: ‘MEDLINE’, ‘Web of Science’, a manual library search and reference lists of relevant articles were searched up to and including January 2011Selection criteria: Studies were included if they were randomised control trials and included only human participants. Data collection and analysis: One author selected relevant trials, assessed methodological quality and extracted data with supervision.Main results: A quantitative meta-analysis was deemed inappropriate due to heterogeneity in outcome measures. Seven papers featured evidence of potential further enhancements to hearing aids that included direct and indirect improvements. Localisation techniques to improve hearing aid testing were discussed which improve hearing aid use indirectly. Further improvement to wireless abilities, stronger yet smaller digital signal processors (DSP) chips, a greater number of channels and complex algorithms featured as direct hearing aid improvement techniques.Conclusions: For innovated sound localisation techniques to be implemented clinically, it is essential that this area is researched further. Otherwise, hearing aid technology will develop and sound localisation techniques will be over-shadowed by more direct improvements despite the very real clinical and cost-effective improvements that localisation techniques may have upon patient hearing.
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