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Hearing Aid Dispensing and Fitting

The successful treatment of hearing impairment with hearing aids goes beyond the device itself.  The hearing aid is only a tool;  essentially it is a microphone, set of filters, amplifier, and a power source.  

To ensure the best outcome with these devices, a skilled and experienced audiologist that utilizes evidence based practice is necessary to prescribe the ideal balance of sound audibility and sound quality.

Medical Best Practice is defined as a process or method that represents the most effective way of achieving a specific objective, or which has been proven to work well and produce good results and is thus recommended as a model. (The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 2004) . 

Sadly, most hearing care professionals (including audiologists and hearing instrument specialists) do not follow published best practice guidelines when fitting hearing aids. (1)

This failure to fit hearing aids appropriately is not due to a lack of published best practice guidelines by audiology professional organizations such as:

American Academy of Audiology

American Speech Language Hearing Association

The majority of hearing care professionals do not verify hearing aid fittings using real ear measurements such as "speech mapping." (2)

Most hearing aid dispensers do not verify the special features of today's hearing aid technology. (3) 

Medical Hearing Associates of Arkansas recommends post hearing aid fitting aural rehabilitation (AR) or auditory training (AT).  Aural Rehabilitation is the reduction of hearing loss induced deficits of funciton, activity, partipation, and quality of life thorugh sensory management, instruction, perceptual training, and counseling. (4) The vast majority of audiology clinics do not offer AR or AT.  We believe that both advanced hearing aid technology and AR or AT are integral components of a holistic approach to improving the quality of life of our patients.  

Medical Hearing Associates of Arkansas guarantees that each individual will receive a best-practice, research based approach to hearing aid fittings including appropriate selection, needs assessment, on-ear verification, validation (outcome measures) and formalized post-fitting aural rehabilitation.  

Our hearing aid fitting process focuses on ease of use, product quality, appearance, physical comfort, and sound quality.

Our commitment to our patients is to remain unbound by any preexisting agreement between clinician and hearing aid manufacturer.  We work with all of the major hearing aid manufacturers: Oticon, Phoank, Resound, Starkey and Widex.  

We are a truly independent, locally owned hearing healthcare clinic here to serve our community in Little Rock with the latest hearing technology and also the skill, experience, and depth of knowledge to utilize it.

References:

1. Kochkin S, Beck DL, Christensen LA, et al. MarkeTrak VIII: The impact of the hearing healthcare professional on hearing aid user success. Hearing Review. 2010;17(4):12-34.

2. Sanders J, Stoody TM, Webver JA, Mueller HG. (2015) Manufacturer’s NAL-NL2 Fittings Fail Real- Ear Verification. Hearing Review. March.

3. McSpaden J, Brethower, Bray V. Across the fence: Defining and utilizing the individual patient’s residual auditory area. Hearing Professional. 2002;51(5):15-19.

4. Boothroyd A. Adult Aural Rehabilitation: What is it and does it work? Paper presented at: State of the Science Conference on optimizing the benefit of hearing aids and cochlear implants for adults: the role of aural rehabilitation end evidence for its success; September 18-20, 2006; Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
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