In order for a hearing-care professional to provide you with the highest quality of care, they need to have the appropriate equipment. Unfortunately, many offices cut corners when it comes to the equipment they use (or don’t use, for that matter).
Here are the 5 pieces of equipment that every hearing care professional should have…
- Audiometer: An audiometer is the piece of equipment that tests your hearing. It is what creates the beeps that you hear when you are being tested. While the majority of offices have this equipment, not all of them calibrate them on an annual basis as they should. This is essential for the accuracy of your hearing test.
- Test Box: A test box is used to evaluate if a hearing aid is working properly. Research has indicated that 12 percent of new hearing aids and 18 percent of repaired hearing aids do not actually meet manufacturer standards for performance. You can’t determine this without a test box. While some offices have this equipment, it is highly under-utilized in the hearing care profession.
- Real Ear Measurement: This equipment, often referred to as “REM,” is possibly the single most important piece of equipment when it comes to programming hearing aids. It allows the professional to measure how much sound the patient actually receives from a hearing aid. Without REM, it is impossible to know if a hearing aid is programmed properly. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of hearing care professionals actually use this equipment.
- Sound Booth: While it may seem like a no-brainer, not all hearing care professionals use a soundproof booth. Others line walls of a room with foam or other sound-absorbent materials. For a hearing test to be accurate, it must be done with low levels of surrounding noise. If your hearing is tested in the middle of an open office, you probably are not receiving an accurate hearing test. In other words, make sure your hearing care professionals have a professional sound booth to perform your testing in.
- Questionnaires: While this isn’t an actual piece of equipment, completing questionnaires are critical to your performance with hearing aids. This allows the hearing care professional to assess the benefit you are receiving with hearing aids. Your professional asking you if your hearing aids “sound good” is not an acceptable alternative to a validated questionnaire.