Real world evaluation of over-the-counter hearing aids

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Presented by Dr Jorge Mejia, Head of Signal Processing at NAL

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration introduced a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, enabling consumers (adults > 18 years of age) with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase hearing aids directly in-store or online, without the intervention of a hearing healthcare professional. The primary goals are to reduce the cost of hearing aids and improve accessibility to hearing aids in the U.S adult population.

As a result of the FDA ruling, the hearing aid industry has rallied to develop newer hearing aid technologies for OTC markets, introducing remote connectivity through mobile technologies for remote fittings, and incorporating self-fitting methodologies as primary features of the technology.

NAL conducted a clinical trial of a new hearing aid directed to the OTC markets. Prospective users of these self-fitting OTC hearing aids were recruited to perform several behavioural assessments of hearing aid fitting and device performance relative to unaided listening, under control laboratory conductions. Participants also conducted real-world evaluations of the technology, with everyday surveys of their individual listening experiences collected using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) technology. Machine learning and other methods were used to uncover insights into user needs for such technologies and understand the challenges they have in everyday listening conditions. Our findings should serve to guide patients, clinicians, and manufacturers of OTC hearing aids.

This webinar covers the following learning objectives:

  • Learn about the efficacy of self-fitting hearing aids in relation to laboratory and real-world outcomes
  • Learn about possible barriers for people seeking self-fitting solutions, from a technological perspective

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