Some studies have directly compared the National Acoustic Laboratories’ prescription for non-linear hearing aids (HAs) version 2 (NAL-NL2) and Desired Sensation Level for non-linear HAs version 5 (DSLv5), although none were performed in Japan. As the Japanese language is a tonal language that has different linguistic characteristics than those of the studied languages, we compared the outcomes of the NAL-NL2 and DSLv5 in hearing-impaired Japanese participants.
A crossover-controlled trial was conducted on 18 first-time HA users with bilateral moderate sensorineural hearing loss. Participants wore HAs adjusted with each prescriptive method for four weeks. The prescriptions were assessed using speech discrimination testing and the abbreviated profile of hearing aid benefit (APHAB). Consequently, participants were asked to select their preferred prescription and determine which was better for “listening to a conversation” and when “noisy.”
The mean DSLv5 real ear insertion gain for an input level of 65 dB sound pressure level (SPL) was higher than that of the NAL-NL2 at 250 and 500 Hz. The average speech discrimination score was 78 ± 14% at a 65-dB SPL and 75 ± 17% at an 80-dB SPL for the NAL-NL2, and 79 ± 11% at a 65-dB SPL and 77 ± 17% at an 80-dB SPL for the DSLv5. These differences were not significant. No significant differences were observed in APHAB subscale scores between the two prescription methods. Ultimately, 11 (61%) and 7 (39%) participants preferred the NAL-NL2 and DSLv5, respectively, with no significant differences.
Although the gain of the NAL-NL2 is smaller than that of the DSLv5, both had the same hearing effect. Therefore, the NAL-NL2 may be more useful than the DSLv5 in Japanese.
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Published online: February 13, 2023
Accepted: January 24, 2023
Received: August 29, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
© 2023 Japanese Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.