I have been working with the hearing impaired for 42 years. Throughout this journey, many things have changed. In the past hearing tests took about 20 minutes and hearing aids did not really offer a lot of diversity so fittings took about 20-30 minutes…tops! Then we would tell the patient…if you need us call us. There were no follow-up appointments. No wax removal. That was it. Times have changed for sure! The world of better hearing has evolved for the better. We start with a tour of our facility, continue to a patient profile that provides valuable information as to the type of lifestyle, health and hearing/communication needs of each person. If applicable (and it usually, is we provide a demonstration in noise of the hearing instruments). After a physical examination of the ear and completion of all the necessary audiometric testing, we move on to the ordering or fitting of the hearing instruments.
This is when the fun starts. The fitting of hearing instruments involves verification with real ear measurement, speech mapping, pure tone testing & speech discrimination tests with the hearing instruments on the patient to ensure that we are delivering what the test results say we should be getting, and adjustments in "surround town" live environment studio by Starkey Hearing Technologies. Fitting and adjusting the patient in live, noisy environment helps us to get from point A to Point B in a nice straight concise path. The fitting alone takes about 1&1/2 to 2 hours. Even with all this diligence our office is not the real world. Outback is not like Red Lobster or Cody's. Our big screen tv may be different than yours. You may have high ceilings and tile floors, thus creating more echo and reverberation of sound. Your neighbor may have an 8-foot flat ceiling with wall-to-wall carpet, usually much easier to understand speech in. One patient’s car may be a luxury car, and another may be a diesel truck. You get where I am going. The better the hearing instruments that you purchase the more intricate the adjustments and the better noise control that you will have available.
So you have purchased the very best instruments available. You have purchased what was advised by your hearing healthcare professional. So now I would like to give you some helpful tips to make your communication capabilities a little easier, a little better. Tips for you and your significant other, spouse, kids, friends, and everybody in our community.
- Face people when you are talking to them. Much improvement in speech understanding comes from facial expressions and "lip reading". (Even people who don't lip-read benefit from the visual).
- Get their attention before you start yammering! I don't care if a person is sitting in a chair and staring out the window, they are "thinking" about something. If you suddenly start talking about something, then you are probably several words into your sentence before they stop their "thinking" process and try to figure out the part that they missed. Instead of trying to figure out the words that were missed the hearing-impaired patient should attempt to "jump in" and try to listen from the part of the sentence that they are hearing. This is very difficult and takes practice.
- If they don't understand and you deer-in-the-headlights lights look, the "huh" or What?, then ask them what they heard. See if given a little bit of time if they can put together the sentence from the few words that they heard. When you repeat, change the words up, rephrase. Don't continue to say, "Do you want some iced tea?" Over & over. There is some phonetic variable that they just can't put together the sentence. They are sitting there wondering why you want to know about their pee! Lol!
- One more tip… No talking from other rooms. I have normal hearing and can't carry on more than a few words from another room without moving towards the person talking. Hearing Instruments are amplifying the decreased sound level for the patient. Your distance decreased volume and high frequency energy. High frequencies give us speech understanding and we need both volume and high Frequencies to carry on a conversation.
If you are not enjoying life because of your hearing…give us a call. We can help!!
To Hear Better Is To Live Better!