Satisfaction with various hearing aid features for basic vs premium technology



This study was designed to test two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1. Satisfaction with hearing improvement in a variety of listening situations would be significantly better for premium-level hearing aids compared to basic-level hearing aids.

Hypothesis 2. Satisfaction with hearing aid features would be significantly better with premium-level hearing aids compared to basic-level hearing aids.

Interesting results:

Read about the study design and results here:

High tech hearing aids could provide better overall hearing [preliminary survey data]

The chart here seems to have no relevance to the headline (I’m not intending to dispute the headline; just that the chart is a non sequitur.)


The chart is just an interesting part of the complete article.


Sorry I borrowed the headline from the original article on audiology worldnews… I agree it didn’t really make sense given the data I posted, so I updated it.


It is usual in scientific research to use a null hypothesis. I find it hard to trust their methods when they don’t seem to understand that basic premise.


premium vs basic can not be compared in this way we all know premium offer flexibility to adujst hence cover most situation and also cover cookie byte and other special features helpful in specific situation. as large number of user are elderly and skie slop this make no sense.


What advantages does a “premium” aid have for a cookie bite loss?


Looking at the chart, the only three items that are really statistically significant given the survey size and scope of the question are ‘visibility’, ‘ongoing expense’ and ‘battery life’.

I’m assuming also that there’s a (potentially erroneous) correlation between ‘premium’ and the smallest devices on the market.

Lets look at those separately:

Premium IIC will have the lowest visibility, premium RIC will score the same as the other models.

Ongoing expense - I’m assuming that relates to CIC/IIC failures, as all other aspects would be the same for both kinds of models. It’s inherent in the design of the smallest CIC that you will get more wax failures than any other type of device - simply due to the proximity of the Mic screen to the EAM. RIC failures are no more likely with either type.
Not forgetting the madness that is the Lyric.

Battery Life: Again, the smallest CIC/IIC and RIC will be using at #10 battery - probably marketed as the premium devices - hence the lower satisfaction of these models.

The rest is pretty inconsequential, apart from the manufacturers needing to look at the last three to further improve overall performance in these areas.

Opn1 or Opn3? you decide…


I looked at the chart and thought it wasn’t significant. Things were close enough to call it a tie when you take everything into account. Features weren’t really important or prominent. And, we oversell features here, anyway.

My first hearing aids were Chinese with trim pots and they did everything. No problem understanding in a variety of situations. As time went by and I sustained sudden loss, even premium don’t give me anything close to what I had. But, I wouldn’t have qualified for the study.

I am not sure what these kinds of study represent. Stupid low sample. Non-neutral questions. Financed by special interest. What’s not to like and trust?

Even if it were to scientific standards, there aren’t any real, meaningful results. Don’t ask users about their unique failure rate. Ask for transparency from the industry. etc.

Want to understand successful users? Publish your return rates.


Just curious, was this stated? My assumption is that this survey presents data counter to what special interests would like to see. The big 6 would surely prefer to see premium models outperform basic models on all metrics.


I was thinking more of the constant flow of studies that keep appearing.


Related study:

Modern hearing aids from major manufacturers are remarkably sophisticated devices which can yield substantially improved speech understanding and quality of life for older adults with uncomplicated, adult-onset, mild to moderate, sensorineural hearing loss. However, it cannot be assumed that more technologically sophisticated premium devices will provide greater benefits in daily life than less sophisticated basic devices. The combined laboratory and real-world outcomes in our research are consistent with the conclusion that when hearing aids are programmed, fit and fine-tuned using best-practice protocols, wearers similar to our participants will obtain essentially equivalent improvement in speech understanding and quality of life whether they use basic- or premium-level feature technology. Because basic-level technology is less costly, benefit per unit cost would be higher for these devices. Therefore, it would be expected that patients will find them to have higher value than premium-level hearing aids. However, it is important for practitioners to keep in mind that the knowledge and skills required to program, fit, and fine-tune modern hearing aids are highly specialized. Professional services that follow best-practice protocols are time-consuming, but they are essential to securing an optimal outcome for each patient, no matter which feature level is recommended.


" Conclusions: It should not be assumed that more costly hearing aids always produce better outcomes. With contemporary hearing aids from two major manufacturers, the subjects obtained as much improvement in speech understanding and quality of life from lower-cost basic-level instruments as from higher-cost premium-level instruments. Regardless of technology level, comprehensive best-practice fitting protocols should be followed to optimize results for every patient."

Flies in the face of many of our comments/wishes.


it need more channel and band to adjust asymmetry of loss more band accurate attenuation and amplification. more over severity of strength of feature is not most adjustable like opn 2 allow 7 db reduction while opn 1 allow 9 db reduction for noise , moreover band differ 14 vs 16 see my audiogram you will see i also need sound balancing apart from other things otherwise under and over amplification cause problem and leads rejection of HA. secondly also transient management need more bands to effective attenuate such voice. costly HA not provide better overall but for active lifestyle users and place like noisy other challenging environment its increasing acceptance specially for broadband amplification candidate…
this is usually because mostly elderly people affected by skie slop and they are not going constantly in different environment. but now eve nchildrens and youngs are also affected keeping in view of requiement they should also consider this factors. otherwise it will just become testimony and not tecnical objective outcome.


I’m glad you like your hearing aids. I’m still not convinced that a premium or advanced hearing aid offers any advantage for fitting a cookie bite loss than a basic aid. I agree that they may help for lifestyle issues, but for the actually fitting of a hearing aid to a loss, I’m unaware of any advantage. I don’t think the number of bands has much impact. Can any of our professionals chime in?


you doesnt know noise reduction it will reduce only spectrum where noise is present and leaving other speech only and speech+ noise spectrum specific frequency and gain to be reduced determined on basis of band and not frequency frequency for analysing by channel ie 17 channel divide frequency in 8000/17 i.e 470 hz per channel and e.g band is 9 like resound so band allocated to this frequency determine gain. now take example widex 220 4 band in my case i have 65 db loss at 4k and do not have same loss at 6 k now band cover 4-6k so same gain of 6k reduced and i can not hear 6k volume at all. this is just example…


In the OPN, the noise reduction in both the Balance module and Noise Removal module in the OpenSound Navigator signal processing flow operates on 16 frequency bands independently. This allows the attenuation of noise to be localized to a finer/more narrow band of frequency as to avoid noise attenuation spread to adjacent frequency bands where the noise doesn’t exist.


thats due to restriction of amount of gain reduction some manufacturers also allow more say 15 if 15 db gain provided and 15 reduction provided then effective amplification will be zero… thats i want to say.


But I don’t think that has anything directly to do with fitting a hearing aid to a loss. If you’re in quiet situations all the time, you don’t need noise reduction and a basic aid should do just fine from what I’ve heard. What I’m trying to learn is are there any types of hearing loss, especially a cookie bite loss that require the features of a more advanced hearing aid. If so what are they. I’m hearing more channels and I was given some evidence that it lets one fine tune noise reduction more carefully.


The argument is that the greater the band resolution, the more accurately the loss can be mapped, but seeing as we only test at six frequencies (5 intermediate points), anything more than 12 or so bands is really just wasting processing effort.

The claim about noise reduction is relatively moot, if you’re experiencing narrow band noise it holds weight, you might even be able to restrict the bands to a roll-off of 24 dB per octave. So in 12 half octave bands the maximum separation over the adjacent band would be 12 dB, assuming that you could recognise this as steady state noise, you could subtract it from the signal.

With two bands and a variable crossover, you could achieve a similar result as 90% of noise situations would be covered. Three bands with variable crossovers are going to cover pretty much all cookie bites too. All the extra bands do is allow you refine where the crossovers sit a little more accurately.

All of this assumes you can properly identify noise vs speech and reproduce the adjacent channels at similar loudness while cutting out the noise without introducing any artefacts to the signal. All in real time of course.