Listener Factors Explain Little Variability in Self-Adjusted Hearing Aid Gain

Trevor T. Perry, Peggy B. Nelson, Dianne J. Van Tasell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Self-adjustment of hearing aid gain can provide valuable information about the gain preferences of individual listeners, but these preferences are not well understood. Listeners with mild-to-moderate hearing loss used self-adjustment to select amplification gain and compression parameters in real time on a portable touch screen device while listening in quiet and noisy backgrounds. Adjustments to gain prescribed by the National Acoustics Laboratories' non-linear fitting procedure (NAL-NL2) showed large between-subject variability. Known listener characteristics (age, gender, hearing thresholds, hearing aid experience, acceptable noise level, and external ear characteristics) and listener engagement with the self-adjustment software were examined as potential predictors of this variability. Neither listener characteristics nor time spent adjusting gain were robust predictors of gain change from NAL-NL2. Listeners with less than 2 years of hearing aid experience and who also had better hearing thresholds tended to select less gain, relative to NAL-NL2, than experienced hearing aid users who had poorer thresholds. Listener factors explained no more than 10% of the between-subject variance in deviation from NAL-NL2, suggesting that modifying prescriptive fitting formulae based on the factors examined here would be unlikely to result in amplification parameters that are similar to user-customized settings. Self-adjustment typically took less than 3 min, indicating that listeners could use comparable technology without a substantial time commitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrends in Hearing
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019



  • acclimatization
  • amplification
  • background noise
  • hearing aid fitting
  • hearing loss

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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