The Efficient Frontier and Beyond: Possibilities and Limitations of Hearing Aids

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This session will discuss the performance of hearing aids with respect to the restoration of sensorineural hearing impairment. Performance is based on two primary characteristics, amplified sound levels of recommended gain and output by prescriptions of the technical parameters operating within the hearing aid and the ability of digital signal processing as well as directional microphone capabilities to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of a listening environment. The restoration of hearing abilities in the domains of speech intelligibility and audible frequency bandwidth (i.e., returns) are traded against loudness (i.e., a risk). The particular amount of restoration is compared to that achieved by an individual with normal hearing sensitivity, coined the efficient frontier. The session concludes with a demonstration of how realistic expectations for speech recognition performance for the typical individual with hearing aids can be made known with relatively few characteristics about the patient's hearing loss and the hearing aid.

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