Aided audiometry, also known as hearing aid testing or verification, is a type of hearing evaluation that assesses an individual's hearing sensitivity while they are wearing hearing aids. The purpose of aided audiometry is to measure the hearing aid's performance and ensure that it is appropriately programmed to meet the individual's specific hearing needs.
The aided audiometry process involves the following steps:
Baseline Audiogram: Before fitting the hearing aids, a comprehensive audiological evaluation is conducted to establish the individual's baseline hearing thresholds. This evaluation determines the type and degree of hearing loss across different frequencies.
Selection and Fitting of Hearing Aids: Based on the results of the baseline audiogram and considering the individual's lifestyle and communication needs, the audiologist or hearing care professional selects the most suitable hearing aid model and customizes it to fit the individual's ears.
Initial Programming: The hearing care professional programs the hearing aids using specialized software provided by the hearing aid manufacturer. The programming is based on the individual's audiogram and specific hearing needs. The software allows for adjustments to various parameters, such as gain, frequency response, compression settings, and noise reduction features.
Real-Ear Measurement: To ensure the hearing aids are delivering the appropriate amplification for the individual's hearing loss, real-ear measurement is performed. A tiny microphone is placed in the ear canal to measure the sound level while the hearing aid is operating. This measurement allows the professional to verify that the hearing aids are providing the intended amplification at each frequency.
Aided Threshold Testing: With the hearing aids properly programmed and in place, the individual undergoes aided audiometry. This involves retesting the hearing thresholds while the hearing aids are active. The individual may be asked to respond to different frequencies and intensities of sounds presented through headphones or loudspeakers.
Verification and Fine-Tuning: The hearing care professional compares the aided hearing thresholds to the baseline audiogram to evaluate the effectiveness of the hearing aids. If necessary, adjustments may be made to fine-tune the settings for optimal hearing aid performance and user satisfaction.
Counselling and Follow-Up: The individual is provided with counselling on how to use and care for the hearing aids effectively. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor the individual's progress, address any concerns, and make additional adjustments if needed.
Aided audiometry is a critical step in the hearing aid fitting process, as it ensures that the hearing aids are providing the appropriate amplification to improve the individual's hearing and communication abilities. Regular hearing aid maintenance and periodic re-evaluations are also essential to maintain optimal hearing aid performance over time