Best Practices in Audiology
At MacDonald Audiology in Rochester, NY, our practitioners all have doctoral degrees (AuD) in Audiology, are board certified by The American Board of Audiology, and are fully licensed and registered to practice in New York State.
More than just wearing hearing aids – hearing care is a treatment process.
Working with an Audiologist who follows Best Practices (like Drs. MacDonald and Stephany) is the key to transforming your hearing care. Treating hearing loss is complex. It requires a provider willing to invest the time and resources into optimal hearing results for you.
With only about 20% of hearing providers following best practices — choosing MacDonald Audiology ensures that you will receive hearing care that includes Best Practice Guidelines — leading to your best hearing in the situations and with the people that matter the most.
Understanding the Need for Best Practices
Many industries have best practice guidelines. As a basic example: surgeons must wash their hands before performing a procedure to reduce the risk of spreading infection.
The hearing industry also has Best Practice Guidelines for fitting hearing instruments to ensure that providers understand what they must do to ensure maximum benefit for their patients.
The American Academy of Audiology formed a task force of some of the hearing industries’ most educated auditors to develop gold standard guidelines for the audiologic management of adult hearing impairment.
First, let’s look at Assessment and Goal Setting
Several things should be done before Treatment is even considered. These should include a Comprehensive Case History, Otoscopic inspection, Cerumen Management when necessary, Hearing Assessment, and a Needs Assessment.
A diagnostic audiological evaluation identifies the type and severity of your hearing loss, your residual auditory function, your performance in simple and complex listening environments and any need of medical referral. All findings will be discussed with you (and a family member if you wish), and a determination of candidacy for hearing treatment will be completed.
A lifestyle needs assessment will be done during your initial visit with your Audiologist. This helps your hearing care provider make decisions on hearing treatment recommendations that ensure your Treatment is compatible with your lifestyle. If a complete understanding is not obtained during that time, it becomes difficult to recommend the proper hearing treatment for your situation.
Second, is the technical aspect of Treatment
This encompasses Hearing Aid Selection, Quality Control, Fitting & Verification, and Hearing Assistive Technologies.
Regarding hearing aid selection, there are a variety of considerations. These include:
- Style of hearing aid appropriate for the type and degree of hearing loss
- Monaural versus binaural hearing instrument use
- Manual dexterity and visual acuity considerations
- Hearing instrument technology requirements
- Telecoil needs
- Wireless connectivity
- Manual versus automated control of the device(s)
Quality control is where your Audiologist will evaluate any existing devices using ANSI Standardized Test Box Measures, to ensure that they are performing up to specifications and to verify that the digital features are performing correctly.
Fitting / Verification involves the programming of the devices using Real Ear Measures (REM). This work is often done prior to your visit, where your audiologist will adjust the amplification characteristics for each of the instruments’ programs, set the maximum output limits, select program feature settings, and verify that the devices are meeting prescriptive targets. At the fitting, your audiologist will perform a careful review of the instruments’ fit and comfort, complete acoustic feedback calibration, verify the balance, volume, and sound quality, and ensure your own voice is centered and acceptable. The devices are typically then paired to your cell phone and App, and you will be taught how to use and care for your hearing instruments.
Sometimes, hearing aids aren’t enough, particularly in loud, noisy settings. Hearing Assistive Devices such as a remote microphone or FM transmitter should be considered. There are even transmitters which can be connected to your television allowing you to stream the pure digital stereo signal directly through your hearing aids. Hearing Assistive Devices could mean the difference between your hearing well or not when engaged in complex listening situations.
Lastly, a unique in-office test in our Virtual Acoustic Environment is done to further customize your hearing devices for your personal comfort level and hearing needs during several different real-world environmental situations. This goes above and beyond any typical hearing sales office or audiology test available in our region and is a patent-protected technology.
Third is Follow-up
Having a follow-up re-orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with your hearing devices. Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that your hearing instruments are continually adapted to meet your changing hearing needs. Hearing instruments are complex devices that require periodic cleaning and assessment by your audiologist to ensure optimum function.
Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss Treatment information and who will maintain your devices are essential to continue to hear your best.
Fourth is Outcome Assessment
While Real Ear Measurement is a form of Verification, Outcome Assessments are typically forms of Validation.
Outcome assessments such as the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Elderly (HHIE), Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), and the Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI) are terrific ways to ensure that the hearing care provider has done a good job and that you are receiving significant benefit from your hearing treatment program.
Following Audiology Best Practices ensures you receive the maximum benefit from whatever hearing treatment you require.
Gold-Standard Hearing Care from MacDonald Audiology
With two offices in Rochester to serve you, our highly-accredited doctors of audiology offer gold-standard options for your customized hearing plan using today’s advanced technology. Contact us today for the next available appointment.