Hearing aids centres do much more than just selling hearing aids. As a matter of fact, selling hearing aids is what a good hearing aids centre should concern itself with the least. The main functions are to counsel the patients of effects and solutions to hearing problems, by providing hearing tests to provide a deeper understanding of the patient and possible hearing solutions.
Advising patients to find the most suitable hearing solution from a technical and cosmetic standpoint is a key point of service, as is providing help in acclimatizing to the hearing aids with on-going hearing and central auditory training if needed. Last but not least the centre has to support the patient not just initially but for as long as the patient uses the centres hearing aids.
The selection of the hearing aid centre is more important for the patient’s long-term satisfaction with hearing aids than the hearing aid itself.
The main purpose of counselling is to find out the patients perceived hearing impairment. Only if the effect of the hearing impairment on the patient’s life is fully understood by both the consultant and also by the patient will a successful intervention be possible.
A hearing test is conducted to get clarity on the patients’ exact hearing status at different frequencies. This is essential to determine how much power and how many sound processing channels will be necessary to effectively provide compensation and restore audibility over the widest frequency spectrum possible.
A hearing in noise test will provide information on how sensitive the patient is to listen to speech in the presence of background noise. This information will determine how complex the hearing aids noise cancelling and speech enhancement seems needs to be to provide a comfortable listening environment, even in noise.
To test the patients overall ability to work with auditory signals and to establish the degree of auditory deprivation a central auditory perception test will be conducted. The result of this test will help us to determine how much time and support a patient will require to get used to the hearing aids and to regain maximum hearing ability.
To compensate for the patients hearing loss is just one criteria for selecting the right hearing aids. Adoption of technology and cosmetic needs are equally important for long term satisfaction. Today’s hearing aids are miniature computers and come with a large variety of options and features. It is the hearing aids centre responsibility to show and explain all the possible options so the patient can choose what fits his/her needs and exclude features which are not desired.
Equally important is the selection of style. Hearing ads work the whole day every day, so it is of outmost importance to select a style, size and colour the patient is most comfortable with.
The patients hearing will change over time due to adaptation to the hearing aids or due to natural decline in hearing ability, as will the hearing aids performance might vary die to environmental influences and wear and tear. It is the hearing aids centre responsibility to support the patient throughout these changes and always ensure best hearing.
Regular checking of both the patients hearing and the hearing aids performance is essential for long-term satisfaction.