Does probe-tube verification of real-ear hearing aid amplification characteristics improve outcomes in adult hearing aid users? A protocol for a systematic review

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Abstract

Introduction: Using a probe-tube microphone to measure and adjust the real-ear performance of the hearing aid to match the prescription target is recommended and widely used in clinical practice. Hearing aid fitting software can approximately match the amplification characteristics of the hearing aid to the prescription without real-ear measurements (REM), but using REM improves the match to the prescribed target. What is unclear is if the improved match results in a better patient-reported outcome. The primary objective of this review is to determine whether the use of REM improves patient-reported outcomes in adult hearing aid users.

Methods and analysis: The review’s methods are in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA-P) guidelines. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science and CENTRAL via Cochrane Library will be searched to identify relevant studies. The review’s population of interest will include adults with any degree of sensorineural or mixed hearing loss who have been prescribed with acoustic hearing aids. The included studies should compare REM fitting to the initial fit provided by the manufacturer’s fitting software. Hearing-specific health-related quality of life is the primary outcome but secondary outcomes include self-reported listening ability, speech recognition scores, generic health-related quality of life, hours of use, number of required follow-up sessions and adverse events. Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials will be included. The risk of bias in the included studies will be evaluated using Down and Black’s checklist. The quality of the overall evidence will be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) tool.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2020

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