How do I know my hearing aids are fit correctly?

In 2006, the American Academy of Audiology published “Guidelines for the Audiologic Management of Adult Hearing Impairment.”

These guidelines were intended to provide a set of standards or “Best Practices” for the assessment and treatment of hearing loss in adults.

The goal for performing best practices is to increase the likelihood of patient satisfaction and benefit as often as possible. 

“Connect 365” at Alabama Hearing Associates is our way of weaving Best Practices into the fabric of our practice.

From assessment to ongoing maintenance, we strive to have satisfied patients every time! 

The Best Practice guidelines were based on expert review of research evidence in four main areas, all of which are addressed in our “Connect 365” assessment and treatment plan.

Assessment and Goal Settings

The first step is to assess communication needs. In preparation for your first appointment, we will have you fill out a basic medical history form as well as quality of hearing and quality of life forms to assess your listening needs.

It’s very important to fill this out in advance if at all possible so the audiologist can go over your history and research anything necessary. After otoscopy and the hearing evaluation, we will review the test results and work together to set communication goals.

Technical Aspects of Treatment

a. Hearing Aid Selection: Based on your communication goals and hearing assessment, you and your provider will go over the different features of various hearing aid models, and the audiologist will recommend what best fits your needs. Some options that will be discussed: one hearing aid vs. two, noise reduction features, style of hearing aid, or if an FM system would be beneficial.

b. Fitting and Verification: After ensuring that the physical fit of hearing devices is comfortable, the next step is Real Ear Measurement (REM). REM is the most important step in any hearing aid fitting; without it, there’s no way to ensure that you are receiving the correct amount of amplification. While the process only takes about 10 minutes, you may be surprised to hear that a majority of hearing healthcare providers do not complete REM on a regular basis.

c. Assistive Technology Review: The last step when making a treatment plan recommendation is discussing assistive technology such as Bluetooth or other wireless accessories. Most hearing aids automatically come with wireless streaming from smartphones, and it has been a lifesaver for those that are working remotely and spending hours on teleconferences. As for other wireless accessories, the two most popular solutions are a small microphone used in less-than-ideal listening environments and a TV streamer that streams the TV’s sound directly into your ears—which can be a lifesaver when watching British TV shows or during football season. If your audiologist believes they would be beneficial for you, they will discuss your options and demonstrate the device in the office. 

d. Quality Control: The most sensitive quality control measure is something called Electroacoustic Analysis. We complete this on every new set of hearing aids, when a patient is “adopted” from an outside clinic, before delivery of any repaired device, and on an annual basis. 

Orientation, Counseling, and Follow-up

Dr. Cliff (the creator of the Best Practice Pro Network) said it best: “Having a detailed orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with hearing treatment. 

Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that you have success for years to come. 

Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss treatment-related information and who will maintain your devices is extremely important.”

During the orientation, your provider will give you the tools you need to be a successful hearing aid user.

Everyone has different learning styles and we want to make sure whatever works best for you is what’s used.

After the 75 day adjustment period, routine checkups are necessary to maintain the hearing aids and to ensure optimal hearing healthcare; click here to learn more about our Annual Hearing Aid Checks.

Assessing Outcomes

To ensure the most success with your hearing devices, we measure the benefits of amplification at the end of your adjustment period—some of the surveys and tests included in the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment will be repeated to evaluate progress, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with the hearing aids.

If you have any questions about Best Practices and why they are so important, please call us at 256-319-4327 or submit a contact request and one of our helpful team members will call you back shortly. 

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Dr. Jan Liles

Dr. Liles earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and her master’s degree from the University of Alabama. From 1991 to 2001, she worked with two ENT medical practices and initiated one of the first newborn hearing screening programs in the state. In 2002, she was awarded a doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Liles and her longtime best friend, Dr. Sheehy, founded Alabama Hearing Associates in January 2002.
    Basic Hearing Test

    A basic hearing test begins with an air conduction test. You will be seated in a soundproof booth and single-use, foam earphones will be inserted into your ear canals. The Audiologist will ask you to push a button or raise your hand when you barely hear a series of beeps (tones) presented at various frequencies (pitches) to obtain your air conduction thresholds.

    To determine whether your hearing loss is a conductive (mechanical) loss, sensorineural (permanent) loss or combination of the two, we perform a bone conduction test.  

    For this test, a head band is place on the bone behind one of the ears to obtain your bone conduction thresholds. This process provides a different form of sound transmission using vibration, which bypasses the eardrum and the middle ear bones and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. When you hear the beeps/tones, you will push a button or raise your hand.

    If bone conduction thresholds are better than air conduction thresholds (through the foam inserts), you have a conductive hearing loss. This suggests a problem with the mechanical structures (moving parts) of the ears.

    Conductive hearing loss is often a medically treatable condition for which we will provide you with a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. However, if bone and air conduction thresholds match, it indicates a sensorineural hearing loss (permanent), and the treatment will likely involve hearing aids.

    ALL INCLUSIVE PLAN

    $6,790

    Comprehensive 5-Year treatment plan with premium technology

    If you want premium “out of this world” technology and the highest level of service and expert support, our All-Inclusive treatment plan is the right investment for you.

    The All-Inclusive treatment plan offers long-term value for your on-the-go lifestyle, providing everything you need to connect with family and friends for years to come.

    Includes:

    • Stellar hearing devices from top manufacturer (rechargeable option available)

    • Wireless accessory included at no charge

    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance valutaion

    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming

    • Same day diagnosis and in-office repair during weekdays for devices dropped off before 3:00 p.m.

    • 5-Year full-service repair warranty

    • Unlimited remote hearing aid adjustments

    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning

    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes and filters)

    • $1000 contribution towards purchase of upgraded technology within 48 months

    • 3-Year replacement warranty for loss or damage (no deductible)

    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service

    • Unlimited teleaudiology appointments

    • Access to our “speed of light” repair specialists