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Stratification of American Hearing Aid Users by Age and Audiometric Characteristics: A Method for Representative Sampling

Aronoff, Justin M.; Yoon, Yang-soo; Soli, Sigfrid D.

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3181cda9ee
Research Articles

Objectives: Stratified sampling plans can increase the accuracy and facilitate the interpretation of a dataset characterizing a large population. However, such sampling plans have found minimal use in hearing aid (HA) research, in part because of a paucity of quantitative data on the characteristics of HA users. The goal of this study was to devise a quantitatively derived stratified sampling plan for HA research, so that such studies will be more representative and generalizable, and the results obtained using this method are more easily reinterpreted as the population changes.

Design: Pure-tone average (PTA) and age information were collected for 84,200 HAs acquired in 2006 and 2007. The distribution of PTA and age was quantified for each HA type and for a composite of all HA users.

Results: Based on their respective distributions, PTA and age were each divided into three groups, the combination of which defined the stratification plan. The most populous PTA and age group was also subdivided, allowing greater homogeneity within strata. Finally, the percentage of users in each stratum was calculated.

Conclusions: This article provides a stratified sampling plan for HA research, based on a quantitative analysis of the distribution of PTA and age for HA users. Adopting such a sampling plan will make HA research results more representative and generalizable. In addition, data acquired using such plans can be reinterpreted as the HA population changes.

Stratified sampling plans can increase the accuracy and facilitate the interpretation of a dataset characterizing a large population. Such sampling plans have found minimal use in hearing aid (HA) research, in part because of a paucity of quantitative data on HA users' characteristics. This paper provides a stratified sampling plan for hearing aid research, based on a quantitative analysis of pure tone averages and age across a large sample of HA users. Adopting such a sampling plan will make HA research results more representative and generalizable, and allows researchers to reinterpret their data as the population of HA users changes.

Division of Communication and Auditory Neuroscience, House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, California.

This work was supported by the Mobile Manufacturers' Forum and the GSM Association.

Portions of this work were presented at the International Hearing Aid Conference (August, 2008) and the annual meeting of the American Academy of Audiology (April, 2009).

Address for correspondence: Justin M. Aronoff, Division of Communication and Auditory Neuroscience, House Ear Institute, 2100 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90057. E-mail: jaronoff@hei.org.

Received August 11, 2009; accepted October 29, 2009.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.