Unaided and aided performance with a directional open-fit hearing aid

Michael Valente, Karen M. Mispagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Differences in performance between unaided and aided performance (omnidirectional and directional) were measured using an open-fit behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. Twenty-six subjects without prior experience with amplification were fitted bilaterally using the manufacturer's recommended procedure. After wearing the hearing aids for one week, the fitting parameters were fine-tuned, based on subjective comments. Four weeks later, differences in performance between unaided and aided (omnidirectional and directional) were assessed by measuring reception thresholds for sentences (RTS in dB), using HINT sentences presented at 0° with R-Space™ restaurant noise held constant at 65dBA and presented via eight loudspeakers set 45° apart. In addition, the APHAB was administered to assess subjective impressions of the experimental aid. Results revealed that significant differences in RTS (in dB) were present between directional and omnidirectional performance, as well as directional and unaided performance. Aided omnidirectional performance, however, was not significantly different from unaided performance. These findings suggest for the hearing aids and experimental condition used in this study, a patient would require directional microphones in order to perform significantly better than unaided or aided with omnidirectional microphones, and that performance with an omnidirectional microphone would not be significantly better than unaided. Finally, the APHAB-aided scores were significantly better than unaided scores for the EC, BN, RV, and AV subscales indicating the subjects, on average, perceived the experimental aid to provide significantly better performance than unaided, and that aided performance was more aversive than unaided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Aided
  • Behind-the-ear
  • Directional benefit
  • Directional microphone
  • HINT
  • Omnidirectional microphone
  • Open-fit
  • R-Space™ restaurant noise
  • Unaided
  • Vivatone


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