4 Reasons to Visit a Hearing Instrument Specialist
Hearing loss normally happens gradually over a period of time. Patients seldom recognize the gradual change in their hearing. No longer hearing some things does change a person’s world and there is a ripple effect from the resulting hearing impairment.
It can impact your sense of self and your relationships within the family, at work and with friends. Partners and family who have known you as a hearing person may also be coping with loss as they miss the relationship they had with the hearing person who was you
The resulting confusion, frustration and sense of social isolation can be very difficult to cope with. Some people simply give up, exhausted from the struggle to find new ways to communicate and to explain to others how they can help.
Today’s hearing aids provide more sophisticated technology than ever requiring guidance and adaptation for the patient.
Hearing aids do much more than simply setting gain as a function of frequency to compensate for the patient’s hearing loss. The most successful outcomes occur when a patient receives personal counseling regarding his or her lifestyle and expectations from hearing aids, followed by a thorough evaluation, strong recommendation, verification, and continued connection to his or her hearing care professional. The patient journey to hearing health is a process that may take months or years, and active buy-in from the patient is critical to success.
A great hearing Instrument Specialist will provide counseling
On average, it takes seven years from the time a person thinks he or she has hearing loss until he or she decides to consider hearing aids. Patients often seek the advice of their doctor hoping for a “medical solution” to their hearing loss. The majority of first-time hearing aid users are engaged in an “avoidance-avoidance” struggle — they are grieving their hearing loss, but they don’t want hearing aids. Motivation is key to successful use of hearing aids where structured counseling programs can accelerate improvement in hearing aid performance outcomes.
A great hearing instrument specialist will do a thorough Evaluation
Patients should consider that a thorough diagnostic evaluation is essential to successful treatment of hearing loss. The audiogram is the basic test and is necessary, but not sufficient, to understanding the nature and degree of hearing difficulty experienced by the patient. Additional diagnostic testing such as speech-in-noise tests (e.g., QuickSIN, HINT, ANL) may also be useful at determining the application of more advanced technology. Patients should check with their hearing aid clinic on the type of testing used. In addition to diagnostic testing video otoscopy where the ear is visually examined shows the health of the ear and has high value.
A great hearing instrument specialist has access to reliable testing
The most satisfied hearing aid users are those who find that all medical and non-medical aspects of their hearing losses were considered prior to selecting the appropriate hearing aid solution. Patient trust is built through testing that guides the recommendation – not simply providing a list of options.
A great hearing instrument sSpecialist will explain “Verification”
Subjective and objective verification of audibility, speech understanding and improved sound quality are essential to optimal hearing aid outcomes. Real-ear measurements are a tool that can assist with “acoustically matching” the hearing aid to the patient’s ear and are a key component related to hearing aid outcomes. Patients should understand the use of verification used by their clinician.
Continued Connection is important for patients
Most patients do not adjust immediately to new amplification. For many, the hearing loss has occurred gradually over years, and it takes time for them to adapt to hearing things differently. One of the most important elements related to positive outcomes is a continued connection to their clinic. This may take on many different forms: individual or group aural rehabilitation, synchronous or asynchronous telehealth, or face-to-face follow-up appointments. The most important element is to focus on the individual patient need and recognize that it is a process.
Outstanding technology, in the hands of an expert professional, will provide the patient with the opportunity to exceed his or her expectations and
Hearing aid fitting is a process that involves both art and science. The right hearing Instrument Specialist will make significant improvement to a patient’s quality of life.