TA-2: When Mild Hearing Loss Is Not Mild: A New Tool for Calculating Unaided Audibility


While recognizing the accuracy limitations in the dB HL audiogram for determining hearing aid candidacy, many audiologists still rely on its use. This candidacy-determination strategy becomes perplexing when a child presents with a mild bilateral hearing loss (MBHL). While many children with MBHL face risks for communication and academic delays, population heterogeneity often causes indecisiveness among clinicians and contradictory opinions among professionals. This may result in a wait-and-see, failure-based approach to intervention. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a clinical criterion that provides evidence for the level of unaided hearing associated with poor language outcomes for children with MBHL? McCreery and colleagues (2020) indicated that children with a better ear unaided speech intelligibility index (BEUSII) value equal to or lower than 80 may be at risk for language scores that lag behind peers with typical hearing. Coupled with other factors (additional medical and/or developmental needs, parent/caregiver information, school and SLP-related information, as well as goals related to hearing aids and communication outcomes) this represents one step toward clinical criterion for hearing aid management. This presentation will discuss recommended criterion (BEUSII U < 80) and present a useful tool for education purposes.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Develop knowledge of the BEUSII clinical criterion for use with children who have MBHL.
  2. Apply new knowledge of the BEUSII criterion to several case examples.
  3. Understand how the KIPA BEUSII tool can be implemented as a continuing learning opportunity.