Frequency-Lowering Devices for Managing High-Frequency Hearing Loss: A Review

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Frequency-lowering technology has been around for decades. The primary aim—namely, that of providing high-frequency information to those with severe high-frequency hearing loss—addresses a clinical need most conventional hearing devices are still unable to provide. Early studies with frequency-lowering technology reported mostly unfavorable results, and the devices never gained clinical popularity. However, as hearing aid (HA) technology becomes ever more sophisticated, it is appropriate to reconsider whether frequency-lowering HAs should be an amplification choice in those with high-frequency hearing loss. Recent research is yielding promise with people who wear frequency-lowering devices showing improved speech perception. Questions remain regarding patient candidacy and whether auditory training may result in better outcomes. The author also discusses future clinical directions and research needs for frequency lowering.

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