Audibility-based hearing aid fitting criteria for children with mild bilateral hearing loss

Ryan W. McCreery, Elizabeth A. Walker, Derek J. Stiles, Meredith Spratford, Jacob J. Oleson, Dawna E. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: Because of uncertainty about the level of hearing where hearing aids should be provided to children, the goal of the current study was to develop audibility-based hearing aid candidacy criteria based on the relationship between unaided hearing and language outcomes in a group of children with hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids. Method: Unaided hearing and language outcomes were examined for 52 children with mild-to-severe hearing losses. A group of 52 children with typical hearing matched for age, nonverbal intelligence, and socioeconomic status was included as a comparison group representing the range of optimal language outcomes. Two audibility-based criteria were considered: (a) the level of unaided hearing where unaided children with hearing loss fell below the median for children with typical hearing and (b) the level of unaided hearing where the slope of language outcomes changed significantly based on an iterative, piecewise regression modeling approach. Results: The level of unaided audibility for children with hearing loss that was associated with differences in language development from children with typical hearing or based on the modeling approach varied across outcomes and criteria but converged at an unaided speech intelligibility index of 80. Conclusions: Children with hearing loss who have unaided speech intelligibility index values less than 80 may be at risk for delays in language development without hearing aids. The unaided speech intelligibility index potentially could be used as a clinical criterion for hearing aid fitting candidacy for children with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-67
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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