Changes in Localization Accuracy With Use of Bilateral Open-Fit Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids in Two Children

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In the study described in the article, two children had their prescribed behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids retro-fit to become open-fit (OF) BTEs. One child, age 12y, had a bilateral, high-frequency, sensorineural hearing loss (BHFL), with normal hearing in the low frequencies. The other child, age 6y, had a bilateral, reverse-slope, sensorineural hearing loss (BRSL), with normal hearing in the high frequencies. Sound localization measurements were made at Day 1 unaided and with the OF-BTEs and 1 year post for both children. Both children spontaneously reported an immediate improvement in the quality of their own voice when first exposed to the OF-BTEs. Only the younger child showed immediate localization advantage over unaided when using the OF-BTEs. However, changes in localization accuracy over time were measured for both children that could be attributed to “relearning” to localize with a new acoustic coupling of the hearing aid to the ear. After using OF-BTE hearing aids for 1 year, both children, when aided, could localize as well as age-matched peers with normal hearing.

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