CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Semin Hear 2021; 42(03): 186-205
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1735175
Review Article

Environmental Classification in Hearing Aids

Donald Hayes
1  Director, Clinical Research, Unitron, Ontario, Canada
› Author Affiliations


There are two parts to this article. The first is a general overview of how hearing aid classification works, including a comparison study of normal-hearing listeners and multiple manufacturers' hearing aids while listening to a sound parkour composed of a multitude of acoustic scenes. Most hearing aids applied nearly identical classification for simple listening environments. But differences began to appear across manufacturers' products when the listening environments became more complex. The second section reviews the results of a study of the acoustic ecology (listening environments) experienced by several cohorts of hearing aid users over a 4-month period. The percentages of time people spent in seven different listening environments were mapped. It was learned that they spent an average of 57% of their time in conversation and that age is not a good predictor of the amount of time spent in most listening environments. This is because, when grouped by age, there was little to no difference in the distribution of time spent in the seven listening environments, whereas there was tremendous variability within each age group.

Publication History

Publication Date:
24 September 2021 (online)

© 2021. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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