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Objective and subjective efficacy of hearing aids in patients with mild-to-moderate unilateral hearing loss: a prospective study

Kim, H | Choo, OS | Ha, J  | Yang, J | Jang, JH  | Park, HY  | Choung, YH
European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology, 281(4). : 1671-1681, 2024
Journal Title
European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology
Purpose: In patients with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL), we explored both objective functional audiological gains and subjective satisfaction, indicating when a unilateral hearing aid is valuable. Methods: Thirty-seven patients with mild-to-moderate USNHL (mean pure-tone thresholds between 25 and 70 dB) were prescribed unilateral hearing aids. Functional gain, the aided speech discrimination score (SDS), the Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) score, and the sound localization test score were collected, and a questionnaire (the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly, HHIE) completed after 1, 2, and 3 months of hearing aid use. We classified the participants as having ‘no handicap’ (HHIE < 17), ‘mild-to-moderate handicap’ (17–42), and ‘significant handicap’ (> 42). Results: The decrease in handicap afforded by unilateral hearing aids was largest in the ‘significant handicap’ group (the HHIE total score fell from 59.1 to 37.2; P = 0.007). There were no between-group differences in either functional gain or the aided SDS. Only the ‘significant handicap’ group evidenced an improved HINT score; the composite signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) fell from – 1.5 to – 2.2 dB [S/N] (P = 0.023). The HHIE usefully indicated when a hearing aid alleviated the discomfort of USNHL; patients with unaided HHIE scores ≥ 20 evidenced significant decreases in the composite SNR (– 1.7 to – 2.0 dB [S/N]; P = 0.045). Conclusions: When considering whether to prescribe a unilateral hearing aid for patients with mild-to-moderate USNHL, it is helpful to use the HHIE to evaluate discomfort. If the total score is ≥ 20, a hearing aid is appropriate.


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Journal Papers > School of Medicine / Graduate School of Medicine > Otolaryngology
Ajou Authors
박, 헌이  |  장, 정훈  |  정, 연훈  |  하, 정호
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