Premium versus entry-level hearing aids: using group concept mapping to investigate the drivers of preference

Hasan K Saleh, Paula Folkeard, Maaike Van Eeckhoutte, Susan Scollie


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the difference in outcome measures and drivers of user preference between premium and entry-level hearing aids using group concept mapping.

DESIGN: A single-blind crossover trial was conducted. Aided behavioural outcomes measured were loudness rating, speech/consonant recognition, and speech quality. Preference between hearing aids was measured with a 7-point Likert scale. Group concept mapping was utilised to investigate preference results. Participants generated statements based on what influenced their preferences. These were sorted into categories with underlying themes. Participants rated each statement on a 5-point Likert scale of importance.

STUDY SAMPLE: Twenty-three adult participants (mean: 62.4 years; range: 24-78) with mild to moderately severe bilateral SNHL (PTA500-4000 Hz > 20 dB HL).

RESULTS: A total of 83 unique statements and nine distinct clusters, with underlying themes driving preference, were generated. Clusters that differed significantly in importance between entry-level and premium hearing aid choosers were: Having access to smartphone application-based user-controlled settings, the ability to stream calls and music, and convenience features such as accessory compatibility.

CONCLUSION: This study has identified non-signal-processing factors which significantly influenced preference for a premium hearing aid over an entry-level hearing aid, indicating the importance of these features as drivers of user preference.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1003-1017
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Hearing Aids
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural/rehabilitation
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Speech Perception
  • Young Adult
  • Middle Aged
  • Aged


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