Auditory training involves active listening to auditory stimuli and aims to improve performance in auditory tasks. As such, auditory training is a potential intervention for the management of people with hearing loss.
This systematic review (PROSPERO 2011: CRD42011001406) evaluated the published evidence-base for the efficacy of individual computer-based auditory training to improve speech intelligibility, cognition and communication abilities in adults with hearing loss, with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants.
A systematic search of eight databases and key journals identified 229 articles published since 1996, 13 of which met the inclusion criteria. Data were independently extracted and reviewed by the two authors. Study quality was assessed using ten pre-defined scientific and intervention-specific measures.
Auditory training resulted in improved performance for trained tasks in 9/10 articles that reported on-task outcomes. Although significant generalisation of learning was shown to untrained measures of speech intelligibility (11/13 articles), cognition (1/1 articles) and self-reported hearing abilities (1/2 articles), improvements were small and not robust. Where reported, compliance with computer-based auditory training was high, and retention of learning was shown at post-training follow-ups. Published evidence was of very-low to moderate study quality.
Our findings demonstrate that published evidence for the efficacy of individual computer-based auditory training for adults with hearing loss is not robust and therefore cannot be reliably used to guide intervention at this time. We identify a need for high-quality evidence to further examine the efficacy of computer-based auditory training for people with hearing loss.
Henshaw, H., & Ferguson, M. (2013). Efficacy of individual computer-based auditory training for people with hearing loss: a systematic review of the evidence. PLoS ONE, 8(5), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062836