Around 86% of hearing aid users complain they struggle to hear and understand what people are saying in noisy environments. For more than a century, hearing aids have been fitted based on the pure tone audiogram. With that Interacoustics developed a test aimed at improving upon audiogram technology called the Audible Contrast Threshold (ACT) test, which is designed to measure a person’s hearing quality in noisy scenarios.

With the introduction of ACT, Interacoustics opens up a new way of thinking about hearing aid fitting. Where the audiogram measures the quantity of hearing—how much you hear—ACT measures the quality of hearing—how well you hear in noise. By understanding the quality of hearing, the hearing care professional can confidently personalize the hearing aid fitting. The result of the ACT test—the ACT value—can quickly and efficiently support the fitting of advanced adaptive features in any hearing aid and help the hearing care professional provide the right amount of help in noise to the client during the first fitting. Having an up-front prediction of a person’s real-world ability to hear in noise allows for more targeted counseling and expectation setting regarding the outcome of the hearing aid fitting.

Further reading: Navigating Communication in a Noisy World

The Audible Contrast Threshold (ACT) test is language-independent and only takes an average of two minutes to complete, the company says. 

“ACT uses a contrasting stimulus which is non-language based,” says Ole Lundsgaard, senior product manager, Interacoustics. “This means that for the first time in history, we can measure a client’s hearing in noise ability in less than 2 minutes in clinics around the world with one single standardized test. ACT is a truly personalized test that applies the client’s audiogram to ensure audibility of the ACT stimuli. In this way, we can provide a robust assessment that reflects a person’s real-world hearing abilities. With ACT and its many years of research by our own Interacoustics Research Unit, we have explored new ways to improve hearing care and provide the possibility to offer a new standard of care in hearing aid clinics.”

The Audible Contrast Threshold test has been created at the Interacoustics Research Unit. It is based on several years of research together with leading scientists and universities around the world, including Oticon and Eriksholm. 

The new ACT test was launched globally on Oct.18, 2023 and showcased at exhibitions and conferences around the world, including Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) AuDacity 2023 in November.

Photo: Interacoustics