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Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A New Way to Help Patients Adjust Hearing Aids

Lake Nockamixon at dawn

Though hearing aids dramatically improve the lives of people with hearing loss, these medical devices can't be slipped on out of a box. Adjustments need to be made by a hearing health professional. Learning individual preferences for sounds is a process that makes hearing aids more complicated than say putting on a pair of glasses. That's why fine tuning hearing aids continues to evolve into a collaboration between patient and practitioner.

Ambient noise--fans, wind, and other sounds a person without hearing loss can diminish with a thought--can cause someone with hearing loss initial dissatisfaction with hearing aids. That's because hearing aids need to learn a users preference. They won't automatically adjust to these sounds or to the personal preference of an individual unless programmed. And this programming isn't always a one-time event. That's because it's not easy to recreate sound levels in an office, but that is changing.

No hearing aid can automatically discern what noise is too much for each individual. That's why programming hearing aids with a user's preference before they leave the doctor's office is so important. And why developing new ways of discerning individual preference continues to evolve.

Researchers at SINTEF had developed a way to simplify adjusting hearing aids to align with an individual's preference. They have developed a table with images that correspond to an actual sound people may encounter during a day. Using these images helps people to identify the sound and to determine their level of comfort with the noise. The hope is that this process will make it easier for the person with hearing loss and the hearing health professional to better communicate. Accurately communicating individual preference cuts down on adjusting and programming of hearing aids, leads to greater user satisfaction, and helps to simplify the process.

According to an article on Science Daily in addition to simplifying the process in office, the makers of this device have, "A mobile app has also been developed which allows the user to record problematic sounds both at home or at work. These are then transferred automatically via the internet so that they can be played back in the sound simulator the next time the user attends a clinic."

See your hearing health provider for more information. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

Resources

SINTEF. "Users to fine-tune hearing aids themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150622071210.htm (accessed October 27, 2015).

Further Reading
To learn more about how to adjust to your new hearing aids, read THIS article.

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