Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 17, No. 3, 2012
Issue release date: April 2012
Audiol Neurotol 2012;17:139–147

Improvement in Word Recognition Score with Level Is Associated with Hearing Aid Ownership among Patients with Hearing Loss

Halpin C. · Rauch S.D.
Departments of aAudiology and bOtolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and cDepartment of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


Market surveys consistently show that only 22% of those with hearing loss own hearing aids. This is often ascribed to cosmetics, but is it possible that patients apply a different auditory criterion than do audiologists and manufacturers? We tabulated hearing aid ownership in a survey of 1000 consecutive patients. We separated hearing loss cases, with one cohort in which word recognition in quiet could improve with gain (vs. 40 dB HL) and another without such improvement but nonetheless with audiometric thresholds within the manufacturer’s fitting ranges. Overall, we found that exactly 22% of hearing loss patients in this sample owned hearing aids; the same finding has been reported in many previous, well-accepted surveys. However, while all patients in the two cohorts experienced difficulty in noise, patients in the cohort without word recognition improvement were found to own hearing aids at a rate of 0.3%, while those patients whose word recognition could increase with level were found to own hearing aids at a rate of 50%. Results also coherently fit a logistic model where shift of the word recognition performance curve by level corresponded to the likelihood of ownership. In addition to the common attribution of low hearing aid usage to patient denial, cosmetic issues, price, or social stigma, these results provide one alternative explanation based on measurable improvement in word recognition performance.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. American National Standards Institute: Methods for Calculation of the Speech Intelligibility Index (ANSI S3.5-1997). New York, Acoustical Society of America, 1997.
  2. Boothroyd A: The performance/intensity function: an underused resource. Ear Hear 2008;29:183–188.

    External Resources

  3. French N, Steinberg J: Factors governing the intelligibility of speech sounds. J Acoust Soc Am 1947;19:90–119.

    External Resources

  4. Halpin C, Rauch S: Clinical implications of a damaged cochlea: pure tone thresholds versus information carrying capacity. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2009;140:473–476.
  5. Halpin C, Thornton A, Hou Z: The Articulation Index in clinical diagnosis and hearing aid fitting. Curr Sci 1996;4325–4334.
  6. Humes L, Riker S: Evaluation of two clinical versions of the Articulation Index. Ear Hear 1992;13:406–409.
  7. Kochkin S: MarkeTrak VIII: 25-year trends in the hearing health market. Hear Rev 2009;16:12–31.
  8. Mulrow C, Aguilar C, Endicott J, et al: Quality-of-life changes and hearing impairment: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 1990;113:188–194.
  9. O’Neil E, Thornton A, Hou Z: Clinical use of the Articulation Index in evaluating candidacy for amplification. Int Hear Aid Conf II, Iowa City, 1995.
  10. Plomp R: Auditory handicap of hearing impairment and the limited benefit of hearing aids. J Acoust Soc Am 1978;80:50–57.
  11. Thornton A, Raffin M: Speech discrimination scores modeled as a binomial variable. J Speech Hear Res 1978;21:507–518.

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 38.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 26.50