Our clinic is actually conducting a longitudinal study on this to verify the improvement of SoundRecover2 over SoundRecover, and so far it is very promising, so the short answer is "yes." But here's the long answer...
We currently have approximately 12 participants in the study. SoundRecover2 was introduced in April of 2016, but strictly using instruments designed for severe to profound hearing losses. This being the case, we have designed our study around patient's with this type of hearing loss. Most patients previously wore Phonak Naida instruments from generations that utilized the original SoundRecover. The format of the study was to first match the frequency responses of the hearing aids (both previous and new instruments) to the patient's Real Ear measured target volume. Then we performed Sound Field measurements for word discrimination in three configurations: (1) Original instruments with SoundRecover turned on; (2) New instruments with SoundRecover2 turned OFF; and (3) New instruments with SoundRecover2 turned ON.
Performance overall suggested not only significant improvement with SoundRecover2 vs. the original SoundRecover, but even simply changing the patient to the new aids even with SoundRecover2 turned off was better than the patient's old instruments. Remember, the frequency responses were matched for the purposes of Real Ear testing, so something about the performance of the new instruments significantly makes a difference, and is further enhanced when SoundRecover2 is brought into play. So far, average word recognition scores improved from 44% with the old instruments to 56% with the new instruments (SoundRecover2 OFF) and then further to 68% with the new instrumenst (SoundRecover2 ON). While 68% doesn't sound like great results, remember that these are patients with severe to profound losses, so it is actually very good for them, and this demonstrated that SoundRecover2 does make a big difference--in most cases. For some patients, improvement was present but it was within the margin of error. For most patients, however, an average of 24% improvement was noted between the old instruments and SoundRecover2 turned on.
I mentioned that this study would be longitudinal in nature, meaning we are conducting further testing over time. The reason is because there is some theory that the use of frequency-shifting technology like SoundRecover2 does take time for the patient to get used to, and further improvement could be seen. Therefore we are repeating the same test after 2 weeks and again at 90 days in order to verify or refute this theory. The test at 2 weeks has shown only slight improvements over initial testing, still within the margin of error (i.e. average only improved from 68% to 72%). More data will help us to determine this further, and we will begin seeing the patients returning for their 90-day tests in the next few weeks (we started the study in August). Patient subjective impression of performance has also been very positive.
Since this study was limited to patients with severe to profound losses, we intend to repeat it again in 2017 utilizing new instruments recently released by Phonak that are appropriate for patients with less hearing loss, so see if these improvements translate to them as well. If you are local to Salem, Oregon and are interested in participating in a future study, please contact us at info@SalemAudiologyClinic.com
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