The Importance of a Hearing Needs Assessment

The majority of hearing aid complaints is that “my hearing aids don’t help me hear when there’s a lot of background noise.” The root causes of this issue may be:

  1. Inaccurate settings in the hearing aids.
  2. Unrealistic expectations of the user.
  3. Weak to very weak central auditory processing of sound, most commonly due to years of hearing loss without hearing aids. and,
  4. Lack of the individual obtaining a Hearing Needs Assessment prior to the purchase of hearing aids.

The necessity of having a Hearing Needs Assessment is a critical component of any hearing aid selection process. A Hearing Needs Assessment is the basis for selection of the correct hearing aid. Without this assessment, your hearing aid will most likely not work to your benefit.

Hearing aids come in a variety of performance levels and price points. An experienced hearing aid dispenser understands the functionality of each manufacturer’s circuitry at various levels of performance. However, matching the correct hearing aid to the user can only be made after knowing how a patient performs during auditory testing.

In order to have an accurate picture of how well an individual understands with competing background noise, specific acceptable noise levels at which understanding is affected, must be known.  A hearing aid dispenser can offer minimal testing by law, for the sole purpose of fitting a hearing aid.

An audiologist, who is licensed to diagnose hearing loss and all hearing related disorders, can evaluate all aspects of auditory function, including those that are related to the level at which a person can understand speech with background noise. Audiologists know these tests well, and provide a summary of skill sets for the individual to make accurate and well informed decisions on which hearing aid to be fitted with.

If the individual chooses to proceed with a hearing aid purchase with only bare minimum testing, that person risks selecting, or being advised to purchase a hearing aid that is not suited for speech understanding with background noise.

If the individual purchases an advanced level hearing aid with strong focus on improving speech understanding with background noise, without the need to do so, they may have overspent unnecessarily on the advanced hearing aid.

For more information on how Champlain Valley Audiology can provide a hearing needs assessment prior to hearing aid purchase, please give us a call at 518-324-5707 or follow us on Facebook for more tips on hearing, tinnitus and sound sensitivity.

Sharon Macner, Au.D.
Board Certified in Audiology
Champlain Valley Audiology, PLLC