Promises to provide hearing aid fittings based on the most current evidenced-based protocols. We follow the ethical guidelines of all audiology professional affiliations including the American Academy of Audiology, The Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. When we recommend hearing aids we adhere to the following protocol: hearing aid evaluation and selection, the fitting and the orientation of the hearing aid, and finally a speech mapping verification and validation assessment to the determine outcome benefits.
Hearing Aid Evaluation and Selection
Is the time spent determining communication needs and lifestyle. This session will help find the most appropriate hearing aid system at the most reasonable cost. There are literally thousands of different kinds of hearing aids from which to choose. There are many manufacturers and styles of hearing aids, as well as levels of hearing aid technology. We will use the information provided at the evaluation to help select the hearing aid that most appropriately suits the individual patient. Ultimately, the final decision on which hearing aid to purchase is the wearers’.
Hearing Aid Fitting and Orientation
This is the time spent programming the hearing aid to meet the wearer’s needs. We provide instructions on the care and use of the hearing aid. We make sure the new hearing aid wearer is able to put the hearing aid in the ear and remove it, learns how to change the batteries and is familiar with cleaning and caring for the hearing aid. Prior to fitting of the hearing aid we perform an electroacoustic analysis on the hearing aid. The purpose is to make sure all the features of the hearing aids are working properly. We assess the directional microphones, noise reduction features, feedback reduction program, telephone coils and other features as necessary. This may include wireless systems such as a phone clip, remote microphone or TV listening streamer.
Speech Mapping Verification
This helps determine that the settings programmed into the hearing aid are appropriate based on clinical research and evidence. Speech mapping provides a valuable tools, it allows markedly improved accuracy in the verification and fitting of hearing aids. Speech mapping reduces the need for fine-tuning adjustments and ultimately leads toward a more successful fitting.Validation measures are used to assess and document hearing aid benefits. We use such tools the Client Orientated Scale of Improvement (COSI) and the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB). In both assessments patients report the amount of trouble they are having with communication or noises in various everyday situations. Benefit is calculated by comparing the patient’s reported difficulty in the unaided condition with the amount of difficulty in the aided condition.
Auditory Processing Evaluations
An auditory processing disorder (APD) is a neurological defect that affects how the brain and the auditory nerve process spoken language. This makes it difficult for adults who have difficulty understanding background noise.
Most professionals agree that the definition of Auditory processing disorder have these points:
- There is a breakdown in receiving, remembering, understanding and using auditory information.
- Hearing ability is adequate.
- There is a neurological basis
- The person’s ability to listen is impaired.
AHAL (American Hearing Aid Labs) uses the Staggered Spondaic Word Test. Other tests may be needed to diagnose APD. We may refer our clients for treatment programs such as Earobics or FastForWord often help children with APD.
Tympanometry is the short test used to determine the function of the middle ear system. This includes appropriate movement of the eardrum and ossicles or the three small ear bones. It can help confirm the presence or absence of the middle ear fluid. If the patient has ear tubes, this test can confirm that the tubes are open and working properly.
It can also determine the function of the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube runs from the throat up to the middle ear. The Eustachian tube equals out the pressure in your middle ear with atmospheric pressure. For example, when you are on a plane and the pressure in the cabin changes you may notice a popping sound. This is the sound of your Eustachian tube opening to equalize the pressure in your middle ear. Some individuals experience Eustachian tube dysfunction which can create positive or negative pressure in the middle ear. This can lead to ear pain or discomfort.
Hearing Evaluations (Hearing Tests)
Hearing loss affects 31 Million Americans and is the third most common health issue among adults behind hypertension and arthritis. Comprehensive audiological ( hearing) evaluations for adults and pediatrics provide data, the Audioprosthologist uses to provide a solution for better hearing and enable the patient to enjoy a more normal lifestyle.
Air Conduction Testing
An Audioprosthologist is looking for the quietest beep the patient can hear at individual frequencies. We are finding the patients pure tone threshold. This is performed on adults and children using headphones or insert earphones. The adult or child is instructed to raise their hand every time they hear a beep. The frequencies most commonly tested are 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 8000 Hz.
How do we hear the beeps when testing for air conduction thresholds?
The beep travels through the ear canal and vibrates the ear drum. The ear drum then vibrates three small bones in the middle ear. The three small bones or ossicles, then vibrate the cochlea which organizes the information and sends it to our brain.
Bone Conduction Testing
Bone conduction thresholds are commonly tested at 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz. Bond conduction testing is used to verify the type of hearing loss an individual has. This is performed on adults and children using a headband with a little box or vibrator that sits on the mastoid bone behind the ear. If the bone conduction thresholds are the same as the patient’s air conductions threshold then this indicates a sensorineural hearing loss. If the individual can hear the bone conduction beeps significantly better than the air conduction thresholds this indicatesa conductive hearing loss.
How do we here the beeps when testing for bone conduction thresholds?
The beep vibrates the box that is located on the mastoid (bone behind your ear). When the box vibrates it also vibrates the cochlea. Therefore the sound vibrates only the cochlea and bypasses the middle ear bones (ossicles). It only vibrates the cochlea, which organizes the
Speech audiometry has evolved and is now significantly detailed. It used to be simply repeating a list of words was all that was needed to determine how well a person could understand and process the speech signal. Now with advanced technology about how the auditory path works there are more advanced assessments tools available. Many of these tools challenge the patient’s auditory processing system (the pathway of the hearing nerve to the auditory region of the brain).
Now days, a comprehensive haring evaluation includes an evaluation of speech processing capabilities in both quiet and in noise. This assessment helps determine the kind of hearing assistance a patient requires.
Hearing Aid Repairs
AHAL is equipped to diagnose and repair malfunctioning hearing aids. We can diagnose and repair hearing aids on site or send the hearing aid out for repair.
AHAL can service all makes and models of hearing aids. Every attempt will be made to repair and verify the function of the hearing aid before having it serviced at the factory. If it needs to be service or repaired at a factory, a loaner hearing aid will be offered. Each hearing aid repair will include a 6 or 12 month warranty.
A new hearing aid comes with a cone to three year manufactures warranty against repairs for normal use and a one to three year one time replacement loss and damage protection plan. Additional coverage beyond the original repair warranty is available either through the manufacturer or through your home owner insurance.