Predicting individual hearing-aid preference in the field using laboratory paired comparisons
Two gain settings were compared in two hearing-aid programs. Twenty participants with impaired hearing evaluated the settings during a two-week field trial period using a double-blind design. During the field test, the participants used a diary to report which program they preferred in various self-selected situations. After the field trial, the participants stated their overall preferred setting in an interview and answered questions about their preferred settings in various predefined sound scenarios. In the laboratory, the participants made paired comparisons of preference, speech intelligibility, comfort, and loudness. The analysis focused on whether the laboratory test could predict the results obtained in the field. On a group level, it looked as if the results from the diary and questionnaire (data from the field) agreed well with the laboratory paired comparisons. However, on an individual level, the laboratory paired comparisons were not effective in predicting real-life preference. Potential reasons for this result and the consequences of the result are discussed.
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