Why Hearing Aid Sound Quality Doesn’t Matter

Why Hearing Aid Sound Quality Doesn’t Matter. Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem Arizona, discusses why too much emphasis is put on initial hearing aid sound quality during a hearing aid fitting.

Website: http://www.AppliedHearingSolutions.com

Chances are, when you get a new set of hearing aids, your hearing care provider will ask you how they sound. They do this to determine your initial perception of sound quality with those hearing aids. But what if I told you that it would be a huge mistake to use initial sound quality to determine if a hearing aid is right for you?

I believe there are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t focus too much on initial hearing aid sound quality when picking a hearing aid.

1. All major hearing aid brands have good sound quality – None of them lead the pack when it comes to sound quality. Study after study shows that different brands come out on top. There is no consensus on which brand is consistently better. As long as you pick a reputable manufacturer, the sound quality will be good.

2. Good initial sound quality often means that your hearing aids aren’t programmed correctly – Hearing aid manufacturers have one goal, and that is to get you to wear their hearing aids. However, this comes at a cost. That cost is speech understanding. Manufacturer First-Fit algorithms consistently under-prescribe high frequency amplification in order to make their devices have better initial sound quality. No big deal until you realize that the high-frequencies is what determines speech clarity.

3. Your brain will adapt to whatever hearing aid you wear anyway – It is widely accepted that hearing aid users need to acclimate to the appropriate level of amplification from new hearing aids. This means that you may not like the sound quality of a hearing aid initially. However, you will acclimate to this over time and ultimately prefer the sound quality of an appropriately programmed hearing aid.

4. Other hearing aid features may matter more – Since you will adapt to whatever hearing aid you choose anyway, you might as well get the hearing aid with the best features. This includes a telecoil, rechargeability, or even connectivity with other bluetooth devices. Each of which could have a major impact on your overall hearing ability.

At the end of the day, if you place too much emphasis on the initial sound quality of a hearing aid, you could be setting yourself up for sub-par speech understanding with a hearing aid that doesn’t meet your needs.

Instead, focus on hearing aid features, and finding a really good provider who performs Real Ear Measurement at your first fitting. Real Ear Measurement video: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY


Brad Wood says:

If hearing aids are worn for a day and then returned or end up in a drawer, isn’t that worse than letting the patient leave with a more comfortable fitting and setting up follow up appointments in 2/4 weeks to gradually get them to their real ear prescription?

Chris Nicklo says:

Great video. Thank you! One note, you may want to edit your close captioning track at about 1:45. It is currently showing the word “are” when you mean “aren’t” programmed correctly. . .

Prashant V says:

Sir, really nice and informative videos. I have a query… Is it better to go with premium hearing aids for children going to kinder garden, since there is so much noise with other kids, or a basic model will suffice for their speech development?

HearingFull Hope says:

Thanks for all the tips! I will tell my mom about it :3

Kalob Adams says:

Do you always fit with 100% of target gain at first fit, or do you factor in an acclimatization period for new wearers?

JRMSS4 says:

Great information as usual. Thank you!

playthatfm says:

I have bought a hearing aid but the clinics that i have went to do not perform real ear measurements. The clinic that i bought my hearing aid from even suggested that ‘visual sound mapping’ is similar to real ear measurement and would give the same results.

As a hearing care professional, have you ever heard of ‘visual sound mapping’ and how does it compare to REM? I like my new hearing aid but need more speech clarity.

Nipun Mishra says:

Hey doc I have hearing problem n I m buying a new hearing aid and the type of hearing aid is naida B70 RIC n the clinic is saying Indian rupees 125000 per aid and I need a pair… Is the price really true or the clinic is increasing the price for their profit?

Brenda Litke USA says:

Thanks Dr.Cliff. I love what you have to say about hearing aids, programming, real ear etc! Spot on!

Hinano Lucas says:

I need some advice about two weeks ago I was sick with the common cold and had pressure in my ears but it been two week the cold has passed and I still have the pressure in my ears should I go see a doctor?

Mike Thorson says:

Can you define what you mean by “sound quality”?

Chris Durnell says:

I have purchased 3 pair of hearing aids from an audiologists. They didn’t perform real ear measures until I returned several times durning the fitting of the last pair. Even then I didn’t get a good feeling that she knew what she was doing. Still not happy with the fitting I contacted the hearing aid manufacturer (Oticon) and they recommended another audiologists who also didn’t perform or even have the equipment to perform REM. Now I’m stuck with a hearing solution that is still not as good as I believe it could be. If I were closer to you I would be your next customer. I have recommended your channel to everyone who I come in contact with who think they need, or are current wearers of hearing aids. Education is needed to become an active participant in your hearing quality. Keep up the good work and may your business prosper.

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