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Hearing aid effectiveness after aural rehabilitation: individual versus group trial results.

Collins MP, Liu CF, Taylor L, Souza PE, Yueh B. Hearing aid effectiveness after aural rehabilitation: individual versus group trial results. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2013 Jul 1; 50(4):585-98.

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We designed this noninferiority randomized trial to determine (1) if group hearing aid fitting visits and group hearing aid follow-up visits were at least as effective as individual visits in terms of hearing-related function (measured with the Inner Effectiveness of Auditory Rehabilitation [EAR] scale) and adherence, and (2) if group visits were less costly over the 6 mo post-fitting period. For 644 participants randomized to receive their hearing aid visits in an individual or group format at the Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, 6 mo outcomes showed no significant differences in Inner EAR scores between individual and group fitting (p = 0.53) or follow-up (p = 0.11), or in the number of hours per day hearing aids were worn between individual and group fitting (p = 0.90) or follow-up (p = 0.24). We found significantly higher cost for individual compared with group fitting (p < 0.001) and follow-up (p < 0.001). We conclude that outcomes for group hearing aid fitting and hearing aid follow-up visits were not inferior to individual hearing aid fitting and follow-up visits, with group fitting and follow-up visits yielding cost savings.

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