How does one find objective data for hearing aids

Hi All,

By training I am an engineer - so I am quite data driven when I make technology choices. I also am not good at letting others make choices like this for me.

I am new to the hearing aid world and now need them - classic issues of loud music and advancing age etc, and my wife is tired of ‘hun?’, and so am I for that matter!

I have been doing a lot of web surfing, and I tend to be OK at it, but I find mostly ads, and very very little real information / data

Can someone give me guidance as to where to start?

Thanks

Ray

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Welcome to the forum. Your post is very familiar sounding. Many engineers have been here before you asking for the same thing. Many on the forum love to study technical specs for other purchases, but it’s not feasible for hearing aids. Advice: Look at hearing aids from the “big six” manufacturers: Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Starkey, Widex and Signia. All will likely serve you well, but it’s reasonable to pick a priority feature to base your decision on. Poke around the forum and ask questions. Sorry to disappoint.

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Thanks,

Today I went to a place that kinda pushed Oticon. The person did listen to me, so perhaps there was some foundation there.

That said, information like worst case / average power usage, etc are questions that she was unable to answer.

Ray

Welcome to the forum and to be honest this forum has been my saving grace. I am a retired MSCE and before going software was an electronic technician and self trained engineer. All of the data I found before this forum was nothing but marketing from the hearing aid companies. I have been wearing aids for 15 years and have found most Audis only know what marketing gives them. Your other best source is researching and reading ever white paper you can find. I have been wearing Oticon aids for 10 years now and I stick with Oticon because I love the sound.

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Most of the Big Five (or, formerly, Six) have either in the back of the PDF user manual or on their websites, the medically and legally required technical data on hearing aid audio performance. Sometimes the sites are split into consumer and pro subdivisions, e.g. the ReSound Pro website, and you can find more technically oriented information on the site designed to assist HCP’s.

https://pro.resound.com/en-us/products/support-materials/one-support

You can also find courses on Audiology Online that are free to audit even for non-HCP’s if you sign up for a free account (I have and have taken many courses):

Besides the main community forum, there’s also a DIY area. Discussion of self-fitting technicalities in the main forum is discouraged because it’s probably not of interest to the average users and it’s a gray area in many ways but especially helpful, particularly for people in some other parts of the world where hearing care might not be so accessible or might be even more costly relative to the average income.

The other thing I’ve found, if you have an understanding HCP as I do, that person will be more than willing to explain the ins and outs of how HA’s work and go over your fitting and how it works showing details in the fitting software as much as you want. So if you’re just now looking to get started with a HCP, a good discussion with prospective candidates for an HCP might give you a good inkling of how much help you’re likely to get on into the future on that score.

There’s also Dr. Cliff’s YouTube channel. He’s associated with the Hearing Tracker website, too, and if you subscribe to his YouTube channel, you’ll get regular e-mail notices when he posts a new video. He does a pretty good job of bringing technology down to an everyday level of understanding and he’s a very clear, engaging speaker with fun demo’s.

He also has his own website related to that.

Thanks Guys,

I am still in the discovery phase. The phrase that some might recognize is ‘I know nothing’ said with a Germanic accent …

It is time to get some and I have good insurance, so the cost is not the issue. I can function without them, but, it is still time.

I need to spend some time weeding through documents and try and find someone who I can trust to get me started. I fully expect that I will be taking courses, and will be gathering all the tools I need to do my own programming…

Ray

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Where do you find information about the “free” part of their courses? I can find only info for their paid CEU membership.

Just register and search for their courses. If you still have issues, let me know and I’ll walk you through it.

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The only choice available after creating an account is to pay $99/year for CEU courses. I don’t want CEUs, I just want to “audit” the courses for free. How do I do that?

OK. You’ve got an account. Go to the upper left corner and click on Continuing education. Then click on All Courses. Either browse or search for something specific.

Just click “Join Now” on the upper right of the page and set up an account:

Click any of the images in the following steps to further enlarge them.

Step 01: Here’s what you’ll see when you find a course you want to take:
(Click the REGISTER button)

Step 02: Here’s what you see after clicking on REGISTER on previous screen:
(Since you set up an account, click the CLICK HERE TO LOGIN link circled in blue)

Step 03: Using the information that you carefully saved when you set up your account, LOGIN:
(you will be logging into your AUDIOLOGY ONLINE account to take a ReSound course - the ReSound logo DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE LOGGING INTO a RESOUND ACCOUNT)

Step 04: After logging in on previous screen, come back to the registration page and enter name and e-mail address

Step 05: After clicking the Register For Course button on the previous page, get confirmation

This course has not yet been given yet. If the course was previously webcast and has been archived, you could start taking it immediately. THERE IS NO CHARGE TO AUDIT.

What will happen at a few intervals later is you will be reminded that if you want CEU credit, you must pay the advertised fee to get your credit for completing the course. I have taken many Audiology Online courses, never paid a fee to get any credit, and nothing beyond the reminder came to pass.

Audiology Online is not in business to be a charity. HCP’s are required to earn a certain number of CEU’s to stay current in their profession. So they are carrying the load for us and we are free-loaders - but it’s free advertising for the HA OEM’s and others who provide the courses. Always keep that in mind as you listen to the course material. Some of it may be “white paper stuff.” Hope this helps. And MDB has said that he’s further willing to walk you through the process.

Also, the registration e-mail that I just received also had the following advice, if I wanted CEU credit, besides paying the required fee:

Continuing education credits

If this event is eligible for continuing education credits, you must complete the following to earn credit:

  1. Be logged in to the entire event.
  2. Achieve a passing score of 80% on the multiple choice exam within 7 days of the event.
  3. Evaluate the course.

CE exams are located in “Pending Courses” once your attendance in the live event has been verified.

I am not sure that one could even attempt to collect the CEU credit if one were not a duly certified HCP with a state registration number (if in the U.S.). I’ve forgotten whether I’ve ever taken any of the quizzes in a course.

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Jim,

Thanks for the detailed information. I did register but stopped at the payment request area and wasn’t seeing anything about still being able to view the course(s) without payment and CEUs. I was able to signup for an upcoming Starkey course and I’ll go back to see if there’s any old ones I’m interested in.
Thanks again,
Greg

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All good!

Thanks.

Ray

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No problem. I believe it was MDB who helped me get started taking courses on Audiology Online so I am just paying it forward thanks to him.

The notification of my enrollment in the ReSound course worries me a little bit as it says course registration is limited. I hope that’s just reverse psychology to make enrollees feel special and privileged. I wouldn’t want to take a course seat away from a HCP who is dying to learn more about ReSound One’s - that was just the first course that came up for me! But now that I’m enrolled, I plan to attend! Thanks for inadvertently getting me enrolled! :slightly_smiling_face:

Edit_Update: Think the reason for the limited enrollment on the live webcast versions of courses is that the instructor offers the opportunity to students to ask questions (by web messaging, is my vague recollection). If there were 1,000 or 10,000 students online in a live session, it would be impossible to handle all questions, etc. Once the course is an archived video podcast, it’s a “canned” course and answer question live is no longer concern but you still get to see and hear any questions asked during a previous live session.

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To answer your original question - you don’t.
You either stumble upon marketing stuff, or users opinions and experiences (which are unfortunately mostly based on poor fitting practices).

Good resource are published medical articles, when you want to figure out why something works or not, eg topics like ‘does bilateral fitting makes sense’ and similar. Which again aren’t connected with exact HA model but to the principles/technologies how HAs work.

Plus getting exact data about HAs mostly isn’t useful from my experience.

Most useful thing is to find awesome knowledgeable fitter. And do your due diligence in training.

What you have to do is see which features you need, which you want, who has it, and then find fitter who follows best practices and compare directly on your ears those several candidates.

That’s the best approach you can take.

Other people opinions and experiences use to figure out what are you expecting from something or to realise that you can’t expect your dreams to come true.

There are some stuff that are backed by numbers, but are not useful to compare aids between them and decide which is the best on paper. Because at the end what matters is which are the best for your ears, including physiology of it.

Tonal audiogram is useful to see which areas are your pain points.

But to see what you can expect from HA is your word recognition score (WRS) and at which db.

If your best is below 50% that’s what you can realistically expect from HAs, and not 90%.

Second number is SNR, signal to noise, sentences in noise, basically how much louder voice you want to hear must than noise arround it be in order for you to understand it. If you need more than 5db SNR, no HAs can deliver that, so, look into additional, external microphones.

For example, my case led me to mics and if I want convenience of not having additional stuff around my neck and use phonak roger mics (since so far they’re the best), and stay with android, I basically have one option - phonak marvel. Now also paradise.

So, it would be waste of time for me to focus on others, since they can’t help me in ways I’d like. So I just don’t bother looking at them :joy:

I can’t say that I find other numbers useful, and as you can see, 3 useful numerical stuff are all about your hearing and not about specs of HAs.

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I choose to stick with “Big Six” even though I’m aware of Signia/Widex merger. From what I’ve seen, they still seem to be pretty distinct products. Haven’t heard of any shared technology although I could be wrong. I also realize I’m wrong by specifying brands when really it’s underlying corporations. I think they’re all good, but they have different “flavors.”

Simple but useful is the magazine-styled compendium called, “Consumer’s Guide to Hearing Aids”, available for 2020 or 2019 at some audiology offices, or through the Hearing Loss Association of America (hearingloss.org). Subtitled: Independent Hearing Aid Comparisons. It does show which brands and models include which technical features, and has a few short articles on T-Coils, apps, etc.

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I think that one can learn from many sources. It’s a multi-dimensional thing. When I took ReSound courses, I was always a bit on guard against the company line but I found many audiologists spoke quite frankly about the pluses and minuses of various settings, e.g., the strongest noise reduction setting is too strong for environments involving speech, cranking up wind noise reduction can also reduce speech recognition by taking out low frequency speech components, and so on and so forth.

So if one wants to navigate through life adroitly, it’s good to accept information from a lot of sources and sort it all out. They say you’ve only really learned something when you have mastery of it and can rework it in your mind, turn it around backwards and forwards, and possibly repurpose it. Along these lines, MDB also once recommended Introduction to Audiology by Martin and Clark (I like the eText direct from Pearson better than what Amazon was offering) - that’s on the hearing process itself and the book by Harvey Dillon (last published in 2012) on the basics of how hearing aids work. This isn’t objective data for hearing aids per se but if you don’t understand the basics of hearing, hearing loss, and hearing aids, it’s harder to sort out what hearing aid OEM claims mean and perhaps exactly what your HCP is telling you about your hearing loss (the problem of finding the good fitter who is doing the right thing). Life is short. It may not be worth it diving so deeply into matters but if you have the time, it’s fascinating. And then if one is interested in DIY, there’s half a chance you might really know what you’re doing if you give it a try. Not addressing or replying to anyone in particular. Just speaking to the world at large, i.e., anyone who comes along in the future and reads this thread. I’d seek information from multiple sources and seek to thoroughly integrate it in your mind, as obviously Blacky and MDB and many others here on the forum have done.

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I wholeheartedly agree that audiology online courses and the books you mentioned are great sources. My mind was stuck more along the lines of “objective data” like we might shop for a computer (cpu, amount of RAM and timings, size and speed of SSD, etc.) Meaningful info like that is just not available for hearing aids. One can get receiver output data and that’s about it. Instead one is overwhelmed with verbiage about what one forum member used to call “magical hearing aid features.” But you make a good point too. If one is not looking for a new hobby, it’s fine to just find a professional you’re happy with.

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