How much do you REALLY wear your hearing aids?
Datalogging and hearing aid use
By: Dr. Lisa D. Cahill, Ph.D., CCC-A
Did you know your hearing care provider knows exactly how much time you spend using your hearing aids, and in what listening environments? A feature called datalogging has become a routine component of hearing aid fitting and monitoring. New technology allows hearing care practitioners to record average hearing aid use per day, use of the various programs and volume controls, battery life, activation of various noise cancellation features, and even suggestions for improving the settings. When you visit the office for your initial follow up and regular maintenance intervals, or even a hearing aid problem, your provider can check this data to fine tune and pinpoint problem areas.
Recent studies have shown that during initial follow up visits, new hearing aid users typically overestimate the number of hours per day they are using their hearing instruments by at least 2-4 hours (Gaffney, 2008). Furthermore, it has been established that users wearing their hearing instruments for longer periods of time each day consistently report higher satisfaction with their hearing aid experience (Gaffney, 2008; Humes, 1996). In fact, a 2005 study (Fabry, et al.) revealed that hearing aids returned for credit were used at least 5.8 hours per day less than the overall average. Reliance on self-report assessment is insufficient for appropriately addressing concerns, and troubleshooting hearing aids has become much more complex and comprehensive with the ability to track patient use electronically.
Questions of interest to your hearing provider available in datalogging may consist of the following:
How many hours per day are you using your hearing aids?
Are you using them daily?
What listening environments are you in? (speech in noise, quiet,machine noise, etc)
Are you wearing both hearing aids equally?
How long are your batteries lasting?
While it may seem like datalogging is a way for your hearing aids to “tattle” on you, it is in your best interests as a hearing aid user for your practitioner to be able to identify problem areas in your patterns of use and assist you in resolving difficulties more specifically! The popularity and technical sophistication of hearing instrument datalogging is expected to increase over time and become a standard part of all hearing aid fittings.
Fabry D.A., Tchorz J. (2005). Results from a new hearing aid using “acoustic scene analysis.” Hearing Journal, 58(4):30-36.
Gaffney, A. (2008). Reported hearing aid use vs. datalogging in a VA population. The Hearing Review
Humes LE, Halling D, Coughlin M. (1996). Reliability and stability of various hearing-aid outcome measures in a group of elderly hearing-aid wearers. J Speech Hear Research, 39:923-935.