Do kids really need a different hearing aid app to adults?

Learn about 2 research studies showing the need for a pediatric app and recent updates to myPhonak Junior that make it even more accessible and valuable for kids.

When you have a child who you believe would benefit from being able to adjust and personalize their own hearing aid settings, is it important which Phonak app you recommend?

That’s a great question.

Maybe the answer lies in understanding why myPhonak Junior was developed and the research that led to that decision. There have also been some updates to myPhonak Junior which might help your decision.

In 2019, a study was completed at Hearts for Hearing in Oklahoma to determine the benefit of myPhonak for children with hearing loss. During this study, tweens and teens were fit with Phonak Bolero™ M or Phonak Audéo™ M hearing aids and used the myPhonak app to make hearing aid adjustments. At this stage, myPhonak Junior was a mere thought in the pediatric team’s eyes.

Some interesting results came from this study.1 One of the key take-aways was that kids need an app that is specifically designed for them – myPhonak Junior then became more than just a thought. It became a need.

Study results that led to myPhonak Junior

  • Their adjustments in sliders can reduce speech intelligibility.
    When given access to all the sliders in myPhonak, on average speech intelligibility decreased significantly in a speech-in-noise environment compared to the automatic operating system, AutoSense OS (Figure 1).

    This reduction in speech intelligibility was likely a result of the young participants adjusting the treble slider and therefore the high frequency gain. Given that best practice is to maximize audibility and speech intelligibility, giving kids an app which allows them to decrease high frequency gain was not recommended.

Figure 1: Children’s speech intelligibility scores in a speech-in-noise environment with AutoSense OS and with self-adjustments in myPhonak app.
  • Kids find only certain sliders in myPhonak useful.
    The three sliders/features which the young participants found to be most useful were Noise Reduction, Speech Focus and Volume Control.

  • Kids prefer their own custom programs.
    Young participants indicated a strong preference for the custom programs they created themselves, compared to relying on the automatic operating system.

    Another interesting finding relates to whether it is important for kids to have access to an app. The study found that the participants were more confident in complex listening situations when they could use the app as measured by the Listening Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (LSEQ).

These findings led to the creation of myPhonak Junior. It provides children with the ability to personalize their hearing aid settings in environments which they find particularly challenging. It addresses the potential for decreased speech intelligibility by providing a limited feature set including volume control, noise reduction and speech focus as well as other personalization features which the kids enjoy and having access to an app boost their confidence in challenging situations.

Key questions to ask about the child when considering which app to recommend:

  1. Is the child starting to be a self-advocate for their hearing loss?
  2. Would being able to personalize their settings in certain listening environments empower them?
  3. Would adjustments to Noise Reduction and Speech Focus help in the environments that the child finds particularly challenging?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes,’ then myPhonak Junior is the right choice for them.

myPhonak Junior updates:

myPhonak Junior is now available to a wider range of children because it can now be paired to a wider range of Phonak hearing aids.

The current devices are Sky M-M, PR, SP, Naída P-UP, and the added devices, from February 2023, are Naída M-SP, Naída P-PR, Bolero M-PR, SP Audéo M, Audéo P.

You can now see whether Roger licenses have been installed in the hearing aids and get easy access to Customer Support.

One other great update for parents is that they can access the HearingSuccess portal (full of educational resources and auditory skills training tools) directly from the app.


myPhonak Junior is available in app stores for both iOS and Android. To learn more about the app, please visit our product pages.


References

  1. Standaert, L. (2021). Benefits of Remote Support and Remote Control app solutions for parents and children. Phonak Field Study News. Retrieved from www.phonak.com. Accessed March, 2023.

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Comments

One thought on “Do kids really need a different hearing aid app to adults?

  1. Sure would be nice if Phonak had an app that worked with my Paradise/CROS setup.

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