There are many options and solutions available for the hard of hearing beyond hearing aids. The first step is to be fit appropriately with a good quality pair of hearing aids. Hearing aids must be customized for each individual’s loss based on individual hearing needs, lifestyle and budget. Verification of each hearing aid is important in determining if the device is amplifying appropriately and if each patient receives the audibility needed in order to have appropriate intelligibility of sounds and voices.
At Audiological Consultants of Atlanta, our protocol for verification is to obtain insertion gain measurements and Speech Mapping measurements. The results of these tests let us know what the hearing aid is doing in the ear at the moment of the testing and how much volume you are actually receiving with the customized setting within the hearing aid in your unique ear. Additionally, we perform sound field verification. This involves putting each patient in a sound treated booth to evaluate your hearing with tones, speech in quiet and speech in noise through the speakers or sound field system both with and without the hearing aids. This gives us another picture of what the hearing aids are doing, in as close to a real world setting as possible. These are important steps that we feel are vital in making sure you are getting the best hearing possible, and making the most of the technology that is available today.
Once your hearing aids are maximized, you may still experience some difficulty in certain listening environments. Depending on your hearing aid system, there are a variety of options available to maximize and enhance hearing. If there are situations that call for more or less volume, remote controls are available in a variety of styles, from simple “up/down” to ones that will change programs and stream cell phones or an MP3 player. Some aids can directly stream your iPhone/iPod/iPad to your hearing aid without any external device. Still others can stream your TV through a streamer. FM systems are available that will greatly enhance your ability to hear in noise, at a lecture or religious service. Remote microphones can make having a conversation in the car much easier for all involved. There are land line telephones that can stream the conversation into both hearing aids.
In addition to having great hearing aids and accessories, there are other assistive listening devices that are available for use that work independently of hearing aids. Amplified phones, TV streaming devices, amplified stethoscopes, are just some of the devices available. Devices for home use also include Sonic Boom alarm clocks and visual alerting devices for doorbells and telephones.
Contact your ACA audiologist if you are interested in any of these devices.