As a professional provider of audiology services, Beltone Hearing want the best for our clients. This may mean meeting needs around budget, convenience and hearing aid aesthetics but our primary concern is your aural health needs. We want to be able to improve any hearing issues that you have whenever possible and generally improve your quality of life.
We keep an eye on developments like the recent FDA marketing approval of self-fitting hearing aids. We offer you the latest information alongside our expertise, so you can make informed choices about your hearing needs.
The details are still in progress
Perhaps the primary thing to bear in mind when it comes to recent developments is that the FDA has only given marketing approval to a large supplier of self-fitting hearing aids. They now have three years to hammer out the details of what this means in terms of device specifications and benefits to health. There is a lot that we still don’t know about what standards these devices will be held to, what they will cost and what the accountability will be for circumstances in which they are not helpful.
Much of the marketing around self-fitting hearing aids revolves around their potential for patient-directed responsiveness to environment and noise levels. The idea is that someone will be able to adjust the pick-up strength of their device without the intervention of an audio professional. They can do this using an app on their phone or through direct contact with the device.
A study has shown that people are comfortable adjusting their self-fitting device to the required levels in a controlled environment. This doesn’t necessarily translate to what their experience would be in the wider world. It’s not just about getting the levels right. For example, how much attention does it take to make the adjustments? Will this hyper-consciousness of whether the levels are ‘just right’ have a detrimental effect on their social interactions long-term?
The problem with the dependence on responsiveness as a marketing point is at least twofold. First, it assumes that the only function of a hearing device is to make sounds louder so that someone has a better chance of hearing them. The other is that it relies on the idea that what sounds like the ideal setting to a user is obviously the best setting to meet their hearing needs. Both concepts are not necessarily true and there’s no way for someone to know whether they are doing the best thing for their aural health without professional advice.
At Beltone Hearing, we will keep abreast of the latest developments on this issue and discuss them with our patients. Get in touch with us to begin a beneficial relationship with an audiology team who can give you specialist advice on your hearing needs.