What are Hearing Aid Best Practices? Real Ear Measures Are Only The Beginning!

Video transcript

Video transcript

Many industries have best practice guidelines.  Take surgeons for example.  Surgeons must wash their hands before performing a procedure to reduce the risk of spreading infection.  There are documented best practices for properly performing this procedure.  The Hearing Industry also has Best Practice Guidelines when it comes to fitting hearing aids to ensure that providers understand what they must do to ensure maximum benefit with hearing treatment.The American Academy of Audiology formed a Task Force of some of the hearing industries most educated and highly respected Audiologists to develop Best Practice Guidelines for the Audiologic Management of Adult Hearing Impairment.  These guidelines were developed based on the review of evidence and provides recommendations in 4 general areas:

1. Assessment & Goal Setting

2. Technical Aspects of Treatment

3. Orientation, Counseling, & Follow-up

4. & Assessing Outcomes

First, let’s talk about Assessment & Goal Setting. There are several things that should be done before treatment is even considered.  These things should include a Comprehensive Case History, Otoscopic inspection, Cerumen Removal, a Hearing Assessment, and Needs Assessment.  A hearing assessment will result in the type and severity of hearing loss, possible medical referral, discussion of results, and determination of candidacy for hearing treatment.  A lifestyle needs assessment should be completed prior to testing or following testing.  This will help to ensure that your hearing care provider can make decisions on hearing treatment recommendations to ensure the treatment is compatible with your lifestyle.  If a complete understanding is not obtained, it becomes really difficult to recommend the right hearing treatment.

Second, is the technical aspect of TreatmentThis encompasses Hearing Aid Selection, Quality Control, Fitting & Verification, & Hearing Assisstive Technology.  When it comes to hearing aid selection, there are a variety of considerations.  

These include:

1. Style of hearing aid

2. Volume control needs

3. Telecoil needs

4. CROS vs BiCROS vs AmpCROS

5. Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

6. Wireless connectivity

7. Etc.

Quality control is where a Hearing Care Professional will evaluate your devices, including Test Box Measures, to ensure that they are mechanically performing correctly and to verify that digital features are performing correctly.  Fitting & Verification is where Real Ear Measurements (REMs) come into play.  REMs are a form of verification that ensures that hearing aids are programmed correctly.

However, correct physical fit must be obtained to ensure that the devices can be comfortably worn.  Hearing Assistive Devices such as a remote microphone should be discussed.  Sometimes, hearing aids aren’t enough, particularly in a background noise setting.  Hearing Assistive Devices could mean the difference between you hearing and not hearing in a noisy environment.

Third is Orientation, Counseling, & Follow-up

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.

Fourth is Outcome Assessment.  

hile Real Ear Measurement is a form of Verification, Outcome Assessments are typically forms of Validation.  Outcome assessments such as the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Elderly (HHIE), Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), and the Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI) are terrific ways to ensure that the hearing care provider has done a good job and that you are receiving significant benefit with hearing treatment.Following Best Practices ensures that you receive the maximum amount of benefit from whatever hearing treatment you require.  

However, finding a Hearing Care Professional who actually follows these Best Practices can be extremely difficult.  This is why the Doctor Cliff Approved Provider Network will be developed.  Starting in October 2019, you will be able to go to https://www.DrCliffAuD.com to find a provider near you who follows these Best Practices.  Dr. Cliff will educate and vet Hearing Care Providers to ensure they provide these Best Practices.  So if high-level care is what you are after, make sure you mark your calendars!

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