Remarkable progress in hearing aid technologies has been made in the recent past. The sound clarity of devices has improved significantly, considering that reduction of background noise remained a major issue with earlier-generation devices. The current-generation hearing aids enable noise reduction, speech enhancement, more comfortable enjoyment of music, and most recently, amplification to 10-12 kHz. In this review, I shall review the history of hearing aids and changes in hearing aids over the years, cover solutions to various problems, as well as the historical changes of hearing aids by some manufacturers. For this purpose, I draw on our ongoing evaluation of 2468 patients fitted with hearing aids from 2001 to 2016. A comparison of the three histograms of our patients divided by age group from 2001-2008, 2001-2015 and 2001-2016 reflects an aging society that will require special care, for example, in relation to hearing loss and tinnitus, which can be met with the currently available hearing-aid technologies.
A special issue for the main subjects The 61st congress of Japan Audiological Society
“ Barriers to higher education and employment for cochlear implant recipients ”
The purpose of this study was to clarify the directionality of vocational interests for students with cochlear implants. The study used mixed-methods combining psychological scales and interviews. The vocational interests for such students were found to be highly supported for conventional occupations and lowly supported for enterprising ones. Moreover, students who had undergone deaf education were found to have more directional interest to work with things than work with people. In addition, based on the results of the interview, it was found that the effect of hearing-impairment had a bearing on the process of selecting vocational interests. In future research, we will further explore the vocational interests for students with cochlear implants by accumulating data using longitudinal survey.
The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that might be predictive of entry into university of high school graduates with cochlear implant (s). The participants were 34 students (male: 16, female: 18) who graduated either from a high schools or the high school department of a special support school for the deaf in 2012-2016. The students' mean age at cochlear implantation was 6.1 years (standard deviation, SD: 3.0 years) and the mean duration of the device usage was 13.0 years (SD: 2.9 years). With the cochlear implant, the mean hearing acuity was 24.9 decibels (SD: 6.0 decibels) and the mean word intelligibility was 79.9% (SD: 19.4%). Out of the 34 participants, 21 enrolled in university, while the remaining 13 did not. Using t-testing and effect size (r), the scores for the following potentially predictive factors were compared between the group that “entered” and the group that “did not enter” university: 1) chronological age; 2) age at diagnosis of hearing disorder; 3) month at cochlear implantation; 4) duration of use of the device; 5) hearing acuity; 6) word intelligibility; 7) receptive vocabulary score at the time of entering elementary school; 8) hearing acuity and word intelligibility while attending high school. The results of “r” showed that the receptive vocabulary score following entry into elementary school was the strongest predictive factor for entry of the students into university.
The current situations and problems in school life faced as children were evaluated in 3 individuals aged 18 years or older with cochlear implants who had been regularly followed up. Information on the situations and problems of school life was collected from speech perception tests, subjective self-assessment of hearing, medical records, records maintained by parents, etc. The results revealed a high hearing ability (85% to 90%) of the individuals under silent conditions, while one subject had a low hearing ability (40%) under noisy conditions with S/N ratio of 10. In addition, self-assessment revealed difficulty in hearing while “chatting with a few people” and during “conversation with a distant person” in one person. The results suggested that for these subjects, the hearing aid system was of help not only for listening to teachers, but also for having conversations with friends and during group activities, which opened opportunities for communication and developing interest in other people. Education of the friends around by teachers was considered important to allow the hearing-impaired children to achieve self-actualization through school life. Children with cochlear implants go through various processes in the developmental stages, and it is considered necessary to provide care to these individuals according to the stage of life, taking into account the individual causes of hearing impairment and home environment.