Purpose: A questionnaire survey was conducted to collect information from clinical audiologists about rehabilitation options for adult patients who report significant auditory difficulties despite having normal or near-normal hearing sensitivity. This work aimed to provide more information about what audiologists are currently doing in the clinic to manage auditory difficulties in this patient population and their views on the efficacy of recommended rehabilitation methodsMethod: A questionnaire survey containing multiple-choice and open-ended questions was developed and disseminated online. Invitations to participate were delivered via e-mail listservs and through business cards provided at annual audiology conferences. All responses were anonymous at the time of data collection. Results: Responses were collected from 209 participants. The majority of participants reported seeing at least one normal-hearing patient per month who reported significant communication difficulties. However, few respondents indicated that their location had specific protocols for the treatment of these patients. Counseling was reported as the most frequent rehabilitation method, but results revealed that audiologists across various work settings are also successfully starting to fit patients with mild-gain hearing aids. Responses indicated that patient compliance with computer-based auditory training methods was regarded as low, with patients generally preferring device-based rehabilitation options. Conclusions: Results from this questionnaire survey strongly suggest that audiologists frequently see normal-hearing patients who report auditory difficulties, but that few clinicians are equipped with established protocols for diagnosis and management. While many feel that mild-gain hearing aids provide considerable benefit for these patients, very little research has been conducted to date to support the use of hearing aids or other rehabilitation options for this unique patient population. This study reveals the critical need for additional research to establish evidence-based practice guidelines that will empower clinicians to provide a high level of clinical care and effective rehabilitation strategies to these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing