The 3 Components of a Happy Marriage Between Patient and their Hearing Ads

By Dr. Anne Simon

May 10, 2018

I have a patient who, before she came into my office, had purchased 3 different sets of hearing devices within three years. None of them were a good fit for her.

How could she have gotten off to such a rocky start when it came time to consider hearing aids?

There are three components to a happy marriage between a hearing aid and a patient. When there is a mismatch between one of these three components, the patient experience can be . . . less than ideal.

First: Patient’s Unique Hearing Loss

Each patient’s hearing loss is unique. In part, because it is the brain that hears. The ears function to convert auditory signals into the electrical impulses that your brain recognizes. Another important factor: hearing sound is a different aptitude than understanding speech.

Second: Matching Amplification Device

No single device is ideal for everyone, despite how they are promoted. There is no one-size-fits-all. Different hearing aid manufacturers have different programming philosophies. These philosophies influence how a particular device processes sound. The sound processing can work very well for one patient’s hearing loss, but be a poor match for another.

The patient in the example above was buying devices that were a poor fit for her.

Third: Programming that is On-Target

To tie the first two components together; the programming has to be tuned to the patient’s current hearing status. The best way to ensure the programming is on-target is to have an objective test. Also, as the brain acclimates to the presence of amplification, adjustments are necessary to make sure the programming stays on-target.

What should you look for in a provider? First, an audiologist who works with a variety of manufacturers and can effectively match a device to the hearing loss. Second, the expertise to program hearing aids; which is not at all the same as simply increasing the gain (turning up the volume). Third, and an absolute necessity, the audiologist should use objective testing to ensure the programming is on target.

Hearing loss is a serious, significant health issue. When you, or a loved one, are ready to consider hearing aids, and want to get it right the first time, call my office at 208-746-7022.

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