The Journal of International
Advanced Otology
Original Article

Behavioral Evaluation of 3 Smartphone-Based Hearing Aid Apps for Patients with Mild Hearing Loss: An Exploratory Pilot Study


Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea


Master Sensory and Motor Neuro-prosthetics, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France


Sensory Organ Research Institute, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Korea


Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

J Int Adv Otol 2022; 18: 399-404
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2022.21469
Read: 1456 Downloads: 484 Published: 01 September 2022

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavioral performance of a selection of currently available hearing aid apps in patients with mild hearing loss.

METHODS: We investigated 3 user-friendly hearing aid apps (EarMachine, Sound Amplifier, and Petralex) with real-ear measurement, warbletone audiometry, word recognition testing in unaided and aided conditions, and hearing-in-noise tests in quiet and noise-front conditions in a group of users with mild hearing impairment (n=7) as a pilot for a future long-term investigation. Results from the apps were compared with those of a conventional hearing aid.

RESULTS: Hearing aids showed greater gain at 1 and 3 kHz than hearing aid apps in real-ear insertion gain of real-ear measurements. Hearing aids tended to have greater gain than hearing aid apps at 2 and 3 kHz in the sound field audiometry test. The clinical performance of the listeners tended to be better when using a hearing aid and Petralex (13% and 6% improvement in word recognition score, respectively), while EarMachine and Sound Amplifier conferred limited user benefit. The hearing aid apps did not improve signal-to-noise ratio in comparison with the unaided condition in the hearing-in-noise test.

CONCLUSIONS: Some hearing aid apps were beneficial for patients with mild hearing loss in terms of amplification, but participants using the apps showed no improvements in hearing-in-noise tests.

Cite this article as: Koo M, Nguyen W, Lee JH, Oh S-H, Park MK. Behavioral evaluation of 3 smartphone-based hearing aid apps for patients with mild hearing loss: an exploratory pilot study. J Int Adv Otol. 2022;18(5):399-404.

EISSN 2148-3817