Examination of Individual Differences in Outcomes From a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial Comparing Formal and Informal Individual Auditory Training Programs

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if patient characteristics or clinical variables could predict who benefits from individual auditory training. Method: A retrospective series of analyses were performed using a data set from a large, multisite, randomized controlled clinical trial that compared the treatment effects of at-home auditory training programs in bilateral hearing aid users. The treatment arms were (a) use of the 20-day computerized Listening and Communication Enhancement program, (b) use of the 10-day digital versatile disc Listening and Communication Enhancement program, (c) use of a placebo “books-on-tape” training, and (d) educational counseling (active control). Multiple linear regression models using data from 263 participants were conducted to determine if patient and clinical variables predicted short-term improvement on word-recognition-in-noise abilities, self-reported hearing handicap, and self-reported hearing problems. Results: Baseline performance significantly predicted performance on each variable, explaining 11%–17% of the variance in improvement. The treatment arm failed to emerge as a significant predictor with other clinical variables explaining less than 9% of the variance. Conclusion: These results suggest that hearing aid users who have poorer aided word-recognition-in-noise scores and greater residual activity limitations and participation restrictions will show the largest improvement in these areas.