Internet-based peer support for Ménière’s disease

Pyykkő, I. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 9 February 2017


Objective: This paper presents a summary of web-based data collection, impact evaluation, and user evaluations of an Internet-based peer support program for Ménière’s disease (MD).

Conclusions: We suggest that a web-based data collection and impact evaluation for peer support can be helpful while formulating the rehabilitation goals of building the self-confidence needed for coping and increasing social participation.

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Speech perception enhancement in elderly hearing aid users

Yu, J. et al. (2017) Geriatrics & Gerontology International. Vol. 17. pp. 61–68.


Aims: The goal of the present study was to develop an auditory training program using a mobile device and to test its efficacy by applying it to older adults suffering from moderate-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss.

Conclusions: This result pattern suggests that a moderate amount of auditory training using the mobile device with cost-effective and minimal supervision is useful when it is used to improve the speech understanding of older adults with hearing loss.

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Paediatric hearing aid management: a demonstration project for using virtual visits to enhance parent support

Muñoz, K et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 9 September 2016

smartphone-1184883_960_720Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the use of virtual visits to monitor hearing aid use with data logging measurements and provide parent support for hearing aid management.

Design: A 6-month longitudinal case study design was used.

Study sample: Four families and two providers participated.

Results: Average hours of daily hearing aid use increased 3.5 h from the beginning to the end of the study period. Prior to receiving virtual visits, the parents and the clinicians generally indicated they were hopeful about the benefits of virtual visits including the frequency and convenience of the appointments but had some concerns about technical difficulties. These concerns diminished at the conclusion of the study.

Conclusion: Virtual visits provided benefits to families including flexibility and timely access to support. The ability to collect data logging information more frequently was important for effective problem-solving to increase hearing aid use. Both parents and clinicians were accepting of tele-support. Parents and professionals would benefit from technology that allows them to access data logging information more easily and frequently.

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Personalised long-term follow-up of cochlear implant patients using remote care, compared with those on the standard care pathway: study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial

Cullington, H. et al. BMJ Open. 2016. 6:e011342
Image source: Duane Storey // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Introduction: Many resources are required to provide postoperative care to patients who receive a cochlear implant. The implant service commits to lifetime follow-up. The patient commits to regular adjustment and rehabilitation appointments in the first year and annual follow-up appointments thereafter. Offering remote follow-up may result in more stable hearing, reduced patient travel expense, time and disruption, more empowered patients, greater equality in service delivery and more freedom to optimise the allocation of clinic resources.

Methods and analysis: This will be a two-arm feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT) involving 60 adults using cochlear implants with at least 6 months device experience in a 6-month clinical trial of remote care. This project will design, implement and evaluate a person-centred long-term follow-up pathway for people using cochlear implants offering a triple approach of remote and self-monitoring, self-adjustment of device and a personalised online support tool for home speech recognition testing, information, self-rehabilitation, advice, equipment training and troubleshooting. The main outcome measure is patient activation. Secondary outcomes are stability and quality of hearing, stability of quality of life, clinic resources, patient and clinician experience, and any adverse events associated with remote care. We will examine the acceptability of remote care to service users and clinicians, the willingness of participants to be randomised, and attrition rates. We will estimate numbers required to plan a fully powered RCT.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval was received from North West—Greater Manchester South Research Ethics Committee (15/NW/0860) and the University of Southampton Research Governance Office (ERGO 15329).

Results: Results will be disseminated in the clinical and scientific communities and also to the patient population via peer-reviewed research publications both online and in print, conference and meeting presentations, posters, newsletter articles, website reports and social media.

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Development and validation of a smartphone-based digits-in-noise hearing test in South African English

Potgieter, J-M. et al. International Journal of Audiology.Published online: 28 April 2016
Image source: Esther Vargas // CC BY-SA 2.0

Objective: The objective of this study was to develop and validate a smartphone-based digits-in-noise hearing test for South African English.

Design: Single digits (0–9) were recorded and spoken by a first language English female speaker. Level corrections were applied to create a set of homogeneous digits with steep speech recognition functions. A smartphone application was created to utilize 120 digit-triplets in noise as test material. An adaptive test procedure determined the speech reception threshold (SRT). Experiments were performed to determine headphones effects on the SRT and to establish normative data.

Study sample: Participants consisted of 40 normal-hearing subjects with thresholds ≤15 dB across the frequency spectrum (250–8000 Hz) and 186 subjects with normal-hearing in both ears, or normal-hearing in the better ear.

Results: The results show steep speech recognition functions with a slope of 20%/dB for digit-triplets presented in noise using the smartphone application. The results of five headphone types indicate that the smartphone-based hearing test is reliable and can be conducted using standard Android smartphone headphones or clinical headphones.

Conclusion: A digits-in-noise hearing test was developed and validated for South Africa. The mean SRT and speech recognition functions correspond to previous developed telephone-based digits-in-noise tests.

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