An evidence-based systematic review of directional microphones and digital noise reduction hearing aids in school-age children with hearing loss

Ryan W. McCreery, Rebecca A. Venediktov, Jaumeiko J. Coleman, Hillary M. Leech

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this evidence-based systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy of digital noise reduction and directional microphones for outcome measures of audibility, speech recognition, speech and language, and self- or parent-report in pediatric hearing aid users. Method: The authors searched 26 databases for experimental studies published after 1980 addressing one or more clinical questions and meeting all inclusion criteria. The authors evaluated studies for methodological quality and reported or calculated p values and effect sizes when possible. Results: A systematic search of the literature resulted in the inclusion of 4 digital noise reduction and 7 directional microphone studies (in 9 journal articles) that addressed speech recognition, speech and language, and/or self-or parent-report outcomes. No digital noise reduction or directional microphone studies addressed audibility outcomes. Conclusions: On the basis of a moderate level of evidence, digital noise reduction was not found to improve or degrade speech understanding. Additional research is needed before conclusions can be drawn regarding the impact of digital noise reduction on important speech, language, hearing, and satisfaction outcomes. Moderate evidence also indicates that directional microphones resulted in improved speech recognition in controlled optimal settings; however, additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of directional microphones in actual everyday listening environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-312
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 28 2012



  • Amplification
  • Children
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Directional microphones
  • Evidence-based systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing

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