What’s Best For Your Friend May Not Be Best For You
Many times when patients come to an AudigyCertified provider for a consultation they have done some research on hearing aids prior to their appointment. Often, that research involves getting the opinions of friends or family that have hearing aids.
Patients then give me the mixed reviews: their friends love their hearing aids, they hate their hearing aids, the hearing aids whistle, their friends like a specific brand, and the list goes on and on. My next question is always “do you know what their hearing loss looks like?” The answer is always a resounding “no”. If we don’t know what someone else’s hearing loss looks like compared to our own, we don’t know if what they have will be the best solution for you.
An individual’s hearing loss is just one of the five aspects that to consider in a successful hearing aid fitting. With personalization of all areas of the hearing treatment, negative complaints can be avoided and optimal hearing can be achieved.
A lifestyle assessment helps to identify the types of listening environments a patient is in and where they experience difficulty hearing. These listening environments may include TV, restaurants, family gatherings and other social events. This lifestyle analysis allows us to find a solution that is the best fit for the patient’s lifestyle needs. Fulfilling these needs may include the technology level, Bluetooth capabilities, iPhone hearing aids or extended wear hearing aids.
Hearing loss can present itself in many different ways. There are different degrees and configurations of hearing loss, from mild to profound, which dictates what sounds the patient is missing in their daily life. Based on the patient’s individual hearing loss, we select the appropriate hearing aid that will benefit the patient now and in the future.
Hearing Aid Style
Hearing aid style is very important for all patients and there are many options to choose from. When selecting a hearing aid style we must consider cosmetics, dexterity, vision, and hearing loss. Our goal is to find a hearing aid that the patient will be comfortable wearing and operating so it does not end up in a drawer.
The Physical Fit
Contrary to popular belief, a hearing aid should be comfortable. It should fit in the ear so it will not fall out, hurt, or whistle. If any of these are happening, then either the hearing aids are not appropriate fit or they are not the correct hearing aids for the patient. We work together with our patients to ensure that the hearing aids are not bothersome and are as comfortable as wearing a watch or glasses.
At Mission Audiology, we use verification measures called Live Speech Mapping to achieve optimal sound quality. Live Speech Mapping is the only true way to verify that a hearing aid is performing in the ear correctly. If two people have the same hearing loss but have different ear canal sizes, the sound will act differently within that space. Therefore, Live Speech Mapping allows us to customize the sound, taking the individual’s hearing loss and ear canal size into account, to make sure sounds are audible and comfortable in volume.
Let Us Help
All of the aspects must work together for a patient to achieve a successful hearing aid fitting. So you can see, due to these variables, what your friend needs to achieve optimal hearing may be vastly different than what you need. With different hearing losses, ear sizes, and lifestyle needs the only right solution for you is a personalized solution. We are in an age where technology allows for ease of listening in various environments. Complaints from the past should no longer be an issue with today’s technology and standards of care. At Mission Audiology we are an AudigyCertified practice and strive for personalized hearing using the best standards of care for optimal hearing.