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Title: Auditory environment diversity quantified using entropy from real-world hearing aid data
Introduction Using data collected from hearing aid users’ own hearing aids could improve the customization of hearing aid processing for different users based on the auditory environments they encounter in daily life. Prior studies characterizing hearing aid users’ auditory environments have focused on mean sound pressure levels and proportions of environments based on classifications. In this study, we extend these approaches by introducing entropy to quantify the diversity of auditory environments hearing aid users encounter. Materials and Methods Participants from 4 groups (younger listeners with normal hearing and older listeners with hearing loss from an urban or rural area) wore research hearing aids and completed ecological momentary assessments on a smartphone for 1 week. The smartphone was programmed to sample the processing state (input sound pressure level and environment classification) of the hearing aids every 10 min and deliver an ecological momentary assessment every 40 min. Entropy values for sound pressure levels, environment classifications, and ecological momentary assessment responses were calculated for each participant to quantify the diversity of auditory environments encountered over the course of the week. Entropy values between groups were compared. Group differences in entropy were compared to prior work reporting differences in mean sound pressure levels and proportions of environment classifications. Group differences in entropy measured objectively from the hearing aid data were also compared to differences in entropy measured from the self-report ecological momentary assessment data. Results Auditory environment diversity, quantified using entropy from the hearing aid data, was significantly higher for younger listeners than older listeners. Entropy measured using ecological momentary assessment was also significantly higher for younger listeners than older listeners. Discussion Using entropy, we show that younger listeners experience a greater diversity of auditory environments than older listeners. Alignment of group entropy differences with differences in sound pressure levels and hearing aid feature activation previously reported, along with alignment with ecological momentary response entropy, suggests that entropy is a valid and useful metric. We conclude that entropy is a simple and intuitive way to measure auditory environment diversity using hearing aid data.  more » « less
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Frontiers in Digital Health
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National Science Foundation
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