Kuk et al (2014) evaluated the effectiveness of localization training on 15 participants with mild-to-moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Participants ranged in age from 28 to 83 years and the average age was 71. Each participant was an experienced hearing aid wearer. Of the 15 participants, 5 served as controls (i.e., received no training), 5 received home-based training and then lab training, and 5 received lab training and then home-based training. Lab-training used a 12-speaker protocol and home training used 2 speakers.
Schmidt et al (2014) evaluated musicians from five Danish symphony orchestras in 2009 and 2010. The authors reported on 394 total musicians, of whom 337 musicians filled in the questionnaires. Audiometric measures were obtained from 212 musicians. Of those, 182 musicians (363 ears) results were analyzed with respect to sound exposure as well as mean thresholds at 3k, 4k and 6k.
Previous studies have addressed issues and variables that correlate with tinnitus. However, Hoekstra, Wesdrop, and van Zanten (2014) report that previous studies have used univariate analysis, which potentially included (or perhaps were secondary to) unknown confounding effects. Therefore, in their retrospective study they used a multivariate analysis to evaluate the interdependencies between multiple variables.
Frequency Lowering for Patients with Mild-to-Moderate SNHL?
Alexander, Kopun, and Stelmachowicz (2014) report their results with regard to two frequency lowering protocols: (1) frequency transposition (FT) via the Widex Inteo (source region spanned 4.2 to 7 kHz, target region spanned 2.1 to 3.5 kHz) and (2) non-linear frequency compression (NFC) via the Phonak Naida (source region was spanned 4 to 6 kHz and target region was 4 to 4.7 k Hz).
Bilateral Cochlear Implants and Enhanced Spatial Cues
Brown (2014) reports that bilateral cochlear implant (BCI) users typically receive only limited binaural cues and “show little improvement to speech intelligibility from spatial cues….” Therefore, Brown artificially extended interaural loudness differences (ILDs, which normally occur above 1,500 Hz) into the low frequencies, where they would be better perceived by BCI users. He compared results from naturally occurring ILDs and artificially extended ILDs.
The Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) was reported by Henry et al (2014). They report five stages of TFI development through which prototypes were developed, tested, and revised over a four-year period. The TFI has eight subscales that address the intrusiveness of tinnitus, the sense of control the patient has, cognitive interference, sleep disturbance, auditory issues, relaxation issues, quality of life, and emotional distress.
Non-Linear Frequency Compression and Speech Identification in Children
Hillock-Dunn et al evaluated 17 children (ages 9 to 17 years) with mild-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) with respect to two measures: (1) consonant identification in quiet and (2) spondee identification in noise. The researchers provided the Phonak Naida V SP “laboratory” non-linear frequency compression (NLFC) hearing aid, which allows NLFC to be turned on and off in the same device. Hearing aids were programmed to DSL v 5.0 targets.
Effective January 1, 2015, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reclassified several Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) categories, which will affect payment of audiology services performed in hospital outpatient departments. APCs are grouped by payment methodology, which often places audiology services with non-audiology services in the same APC and paid at the same rate.
Extended Bandwidth, Limited Bandwidth, and Frequency Transposition
Lau et al (2014) compared three hearing aid fitting options across 13 adults (5 male, 8 female) with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). The three fitting options included a bandwidth limited to 4000 Hz (LBW), an extended bandwidth to 9000 Hz (EBW), and linear frequency transposition that transposed signals above 4000 Hz (LFT).