Dynamic Assessment of Hearing Aids

Period of Performance: 03/15/2006 - 02/28/2007

$359K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Psychological Applications, LLC
South Pomfret, VT 05067
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The focus of this Phase II proposal is a computer-based method called the Dynamic Assessment of Hearing Aids (DAHA). The method uses an intuitive graphical interface to record visual analogue ratings of a patient's satisfaction with various facets of his/her hearing aid(s). The results of each assessment are immediately available to the clinician. The hearing aid provider can select from a variety of normative data sets and different report formats to summarize the assessment for a single patient. The patient receives a written report summarizing the salient aspects of their hearing aids leading to satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These are available either in a default mode or as selections to meet the needs of individual patients or groups of patients. The software is available both in English and Spanish. Phase I of this project established the method's psychometric properties of concurrent validity and test-retest reliability, as well as patient acceptability. The main research objective of Phase II is to develop an initial normative database for DAHA and to integrate state-of-the art database management and data presentation tools into the DAHA system. The secondary objective is to field test the DAHA in a clinical setting, in order to determine its utility to providers and patients who are evaluating hearing aids. At present, questionnaires and interview techniques are commonly used to obtain patient ratings of their opinions about their hearing aids. The drawbacks of these methods include laboriousness for both the patient and the person who administers and scores the instrument, delayed availability of results, and difficulties in making comparisons with selected subpopulations. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The number of audiologists practicing in the US is approximately 7000 (source: American Academy of Audiology), and the number of people in the U.S. with hearing loss sufficient to affect daily living exceeds 25 million. Successful completion of the proposed project will fulfill an existing need by providing computer assessments of the perceived quality of hearing aids that can be used in a variety of clinical and research settings, including R&D and marketing for designers and manufacturers of hearing aid devices.