AI Assistant Improves Both Wearer Outcomes and Clinical Efficiency
Erik Harry Høydal, MSc; Niels Søgaard Jensen, MSc; Rosa-Linde Fischer, PhD; Sascha Haag, MBA; and Brian Taylor, AuD
To investigate the benefits of an AI assistant to support the individualization of hearing aid fittings, 58 hearing aid wearers were surveyed. The results showed Signia Assistant is perceived as easy to use and improves the fitting for individual wearers in difficult listening situations. Further, it increases the clinician’s ability to optimize the fitting more accurately to the individual and strengthens the provider-wearer relationship.
Over the past two decades, hearing aids have evolved in some remarkable ways, including the ability to identify and process sounds in the listening environment wearers want to hear. During this time, hearing aids have advanced from the use of a screwdriver to make one or two basic adjustments to having countless fine-tuning options available in computer-driven fitting software.1
Despite the advancements in how hearing aids are adjusted, methods used to fit hearing aids have not changed. For example, we continue to rely on wearer feedback, which is highly variable and subjective, as a basis for nearly all fine-tuning decisions.2 While good provider-wearer dialogue is always crucial, we often ignore the fact that many wearers cannot always find the language to describe sound or accurately recall situations where they had problems hearing. During follow-up appointments this means the hearing care professional (HCP) must make educated guesses about what might fix the problem—in the perfectly quiet clinic—before sending the wearer home for another trial round in real-world listening situations. In some cases, the result may be a long trial-and-error process in which the wearer needs to go back to the clinic multiple times before an acceptable adjustment to the hearing aids is found—and sometimes an acceptable adjustment may never be found.3
While these shortcomings are well-known, until recently, there have been few alternatives. Fortunately, new technologies bring new possibilities that remove much of the uncertainty related to hearing aid fine-tuning and adjustments. In this article, we explore how new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can improve the outcome of individual hearing aid fittings and how it affects the workflow of the clinic.
- Taylor B, Mueller HG. Fitting and Dispensing Hearing Aids. 3rd ed. Plural Publishing; 2020.
- Anderson MC, Arehart KH, Souza PE. Survey of current practice in the fitting and fine-tuning of common signal-processing features in hearing aids for adults. J Am Acad Audiol. 2018;29(2):118-124.
- Bennett B. Underreported hearing aid problems: No news is good news, right? Wrong! Hear J. 2021;74(2):16-19.