As I was reviewing a patient’s hearing evaluation results with him and explaining the benefits of proper amplification for his specific needs, it became apparent to me that we use many terms that can be misunderstood by the patient. I will go over some standard terms to help prepare you for your hearing consultation.

Pure tone “air conduction” audiometry refers to the hearing test where you are presented tones through a headset or inserts into the ear canal. Bone conduction audiometry is when a vibrating oscillator is attached behind your ear and tones are presented. In both tests you will press a button or raise your finger to indicate when you can barely hear the tone. While air conduction testing shows the function of your entire hearing mechanism, bone conduction testing bypasses the outer and middle ear to reveal just the hearing capabilities of the nerves in the inner ear. The combination of these tests will help to determine if the hearing problem is with the entire or ear or possibly just in the middle or outer ear. Tympanometry is a separate test that measures the health of the middle ear.

There are several tests to determine how well we can help you understand. These are called Speech Discrimination Tests. You will be given a list of words either live voice or a recording. The scores tell us how well we can expect you to understand. QuickSin is another type of speech understanding test. This test is with sentences and noise. You are presented six sentences with background noise, one sentence at a time, the noise is louder with each sentence. This tests determines the amount of difficulty that you will have understanding in noise... AFTER you are fit with hearing aids. This is a crucial test. The scores that you receive are directly related to the style of hearing aids, microphone selection and technology level that is best to correct your hearing loss appropriately.

Hearing aids come in different styles, colors and technology levels. Not one hearing aid is perfect for everyone. What works for your sister won’t necessarily work for you! The more difficulty you have repeating words in quiet and especially in noise... the more help you need from the hearing aid to sort out all the conflicting sounds in the environment. The better the technology you get the more hearing nerves that are stimulated... the more they control noise.

Hearing aids have “memories” some companies will call them “programs.” Both are the same.

Starkey Hearing Technologies call them Memories. With eye glasses, if you have different needs for reading than you do for most of the rest of your day they may fit you with bifocals, or trifocals. These special type of lenses provide a different “prescription” for a different need. “Memories” in a hearing aid are exactly that. They are hearing prescriptions. Depending upon your speech understanding tests it may be helpful if you can have separate “memories/programs” that you can activate with a press of a button. For example; maybe you sit 20 feet from your tv and have high ceilings. The prescription you will need to hear that properly is different than carrying on a conversation with your wife at breakfast.

Hearing aids have wax guards, wax springs, wax hoods, wax ceptors.... wax..wax..wax... all aids have some type of wax protectors. Some of them are replaced by the patient and some are replaced by the professionals. All are easy to maintain.

Microphones. There are Omni mics that pick up 360 degrees and adaptive mics that self adjust, directional mics the focus on speech and aids that have a combination of all three. They should be brushed off daily. Once again... the scores that you obtain during the speech discrimination test help determine which microphones will provide you with the best hearing.

All hearing aids have receivers. This will be the component that is closest to the eardrum. The purpose of receiver is to “receive the signal from the microphones and computer chip configure the power” ... and present it the eardrum. The wax guard is placed at the end of the receiver to protect it.

Most hearing aids also have vents. Custom products as well as ear buds have different size vents. The vents allow the ear to breathe and are different sized depending on the hearing loss. Along with the Microphones and the receivers the vents should be cleaned daily to provide constant clear hearing. To Hear Better Is To Live Better.... schedule your hearing examination and consultation today!

Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.

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