To improve hearing aid outcomes, it is critical to understand listeners’ perceptions of hearing aids. This makes factors/problems easy to identify in the real world. To achieve this goal, field assessment tools that collect the following are needed:
  • perception data
  • listening context information, which includes characteristics of listening activities, situations, and environments
  • hearing aid configuration.
To overcome the many disadvantages of retrospective self-report assessments, a computer-based Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) system was developed. This system immediately and repeatedly records listeners’ perceptions and listening TAP context information in natural environments using mobile phones. AudioACE will be developed for this project. AudioACE builds on the previous system by adding capabilities to respond to changes in listening context and intelligently recording information relevant to the context (e.g., silence and noisy conversational environments demand different types of data and responses). AudioACE will integrate hearing aids and mobile phones to capture hearing aid configurations for each listening context. AudioACE will also incorporate intelligent sampling techniques that trigger the delivery of momentary assessments. This is based on the properties of the listening context, e.g., signal-to-noise ratio level. We will compare the sensitivity and efficiency of AudioACE and the previous system as part of a field study that evaluates the outcomes of directional microphone hearing aids.

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Project D2: Context-sensitive assessment of real-world listening situations via integrated smartphones and hearing aids

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