Are Your Hearing Aids Working?

Usually, when a patient reports that their hearing aids are not working, they also say that it has been a while since they have had their hearing aids serviced or adjusted.

For the best results, you should have your hearing aid programmed by a certified audiologist. Here’s why: 

1. No two hearing aids are alike.

Just as you cannot buy a pair of eyeglasses without having the lenses made to your prescription, you can’t just buy a set of hearing aids without having them programmed. Because no two hearing aids are the same, your audiologist can make sure your hearing aids are adjusted to your ears, your existing hearing capabilities, and your preferences.  Factors to be considered when programming your hearing aid are your degree of hearing loss, comfort level, and other personal considerations.

2. Only an audiologist can then fine-tune your hearing aid.

When an audiologist programs your hearing aid, he will do so after a complete hearing evaluation based on your subjective preferences. The good news is, once a hearing aid is programmed, it may be adjusted again. Some people may be impatient with the process of adjusting a hearing aid to get it right.  However, it is important to note that the brain has to take time to adjust to the new sounds emitted by the device and will only improve after it adapts to various listening situations. 

The older model hearing aids required a screwdriver to tweak settings and there were not many adjustments available. Now, with digital hearing aids, hundreds of elements can be fine-tuned to accommodate the hearing needs of each unique individual. This troubleshooting approach clearly gives digital hearing aids the advantage.

3. Programming Your Hearing Aids

Your hearing aid can be customized to your use through high-tech processes such as real ear measurements, visual mapping, and environmental simulations. During the actual programming process, your audiologist may use a surround sound system to simulate real noise from the outside world and then make adjustments based on real-time feedback.  By using a surround sound system, the audiologist can simulate crowd noises to adjust the noise reduction feature. This feature is critical because so many people with hearing aids say they work great when it is quiet, but find it difficult to hear with competing for background noise in restaurants or while riding public transportation.

Here is how it is done:

First, real-ear probe microphones detect how much sound is reaching the eardrum so that your audiologist can be accurate in programming your hearing aid. Next, he may use Visible speech mapping (VSM) to detect how various sounds of speech hit the eardrum. This method is an excellent alternative to traditional measurements because the newer hearing aids feature noise reduction and feedback reduction algorithms.

The process of programming a hearing aid requires the proper hardware, software, and cables to connect to the hearing aid. Only a qualified audiologist can handle this technical task. Although many people learn to program their own hearing aids, the equipment can get expensive, and over time, the level of accuracy will decrease.

4. Adjusting your hearing aid to your needs

Programming a hearing aid can involve many factors. Depending on the model type you have, and the type of software it uses, an audiologist can adjust elements such as volume, frequency, intensity levels, compression ratios, max power output, noise reduction, microphone parameters, and the like.

If one setting is too sensitive in regards to noise, it can be changed to accommodate your comfort level, plus you can adjust settings to filter out certain levels of background noise.

Accessible Hearing Aids provides clean, and checks on all hearing aids as an initial consultation about your hearing health. This is important because hearing aids are designed to last for years, and over the lifespan of hearing aids, your hearing will likely change as will your needs.

Dr. Joe Griffith, with Accessible Hearing Aids, is a certified audiologist who addresses all types of hearing concerns and ensure you get the hearing help you deserve. Call today at (504) 738-4557 to schedule your appointment!

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