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Is it possible to test corrected hearing?

ruud1boyruud1boy ListenerPosts: 3Member Listener

I have a high frequency hearing impairment and have recently started wearing HA's issued by the NHS. When I've gone back to the audiologists to see about tweaking the settings, they're just changing things based on what I'm telling them rather than testing how close to the ideal my HA's are getting my hearing. However, I don't know whether my hearing is bob on or not - I thought it was fine before they told me I had an impairment.

When you go to the opticians, you read the chart on the wall and see how far you can get down it to the little letters. They then try various combinations of lenses to sharpen up your vision and see if you read the smallest letters at the bottom of the chart. Is there not something similar that can be done to test your hearing when wearing HA's?

Hope this makes sense and thank you in anticipation of any assistance.

Replies

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Scope community team Posts: 7,647Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @ruud1boy welcome to the community

    Did you ask your audiologists when you saw them last? Can you get in touch and ask them? 

    You can also take a look at Action on Hearing Loss charity.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • VickiKirwinVickiKirwin Courageous Posts: 69Member Courageous

    Hi ruud1boy

    When your hearing aids were first fitted the audiologist should have taken some measurements known as Real Ear Measurements (REMs). This involves taking measurements of the amplified sound coming from the hearing aid in the ear canal using a tiny plastic probe tube microphone worn in the ear at the same time as the hearing aid, while facing a speaker that makes various different sounds. The hearing aids are then programmed for each ear’s individual hearing loss. But two people with identical hearing losses and identical hearing aids will have slightly different hearing aid prescriptions. This is because the size of the ear canal varies between people and this can alter the signal (or frequency response) coming from the hearing aid. REMs are used to make sure that the frequency response of the hearing aid matches your hearing loss and ear size as closely as possible. 

    Once the hearing aids are programmed to match these targets as closely as possible, any tweaks made to the hearing aids are usually based on what the wearer reports. This is because the tweaks made are actually making an adjustment away from the ideal fitting prescription for that ear. But even so, many people prefer to have some minor variations to programming made to make the hearing aids as comfortable as possible to listen with. 

    It is possible to have other tests done while wearing hearing aids, such as listening to speech and repeating what is heard. But for most people their reports of everyday listening are enough for the audiologist to adjust hearing aids so that they are comfortable. If you’re not happy with the fitting at all, please do talk to your audiologist so that they can explain what has been done and work with you to improve it. 

    Vicki


  • ruud1boyruud1boy Listener Posts: 3Member Listener

    Thanks very much for your response Vicki,

    I have 'open fit' HA's, rather than the earmould type - would these REM's still be taken with open fit?

    I didn't really have any sort of fitting as such when the gave me the aids, he just programmed them based on a quick 5minute 'sweep' hearing test in the audiologist's office (not in a sound-proof booth or anything) and then said, there you go, try these. I have been back since then to get the settings adjusted, as my left side felt a bit flat / dull compared to the right, but I'm still getting that sensation even after that adjustment.

    I've had a bit of a cold over the last week or 2 and also I don't know whether I have a bit of a wax blockage in one or both of my ears, so I don't know whether my current feeling of imbalance in my hearing is due to one of these issues or the settings on the HA's being not quite right.

  • ruud1boyruud1boy Listener Posts: 3Member Listener
    Sam_Scope said:
    Hi @ruud1boy welcome to the community

    Did you ask your audiologists when you saw them last? Can you get in touch and ask them? 

    You can also take a look at Action on Hearing Loss charity.


    Hi Sam,

    Yes, I asked both the audiologist and the Action on Hearing Loss helpline and they both said that no, it's not possible to test corrected hearing - it's just best guess based on the underlying hearing test. As a new HA user, that just seemed pretty slapdash to me, hence why I've been fishing around for other opinions. Neither the NHS audiology team I've been dealing with or AHL have filled me with much confidence TBH.

    My main problem is raging tinnitus, so I'm constantly scouting around on the internet looking for information and resources etc. Haven't come across your web portal previously, but now that I have, I think I might be badgering Vicki occasionally for advice!

    Many thanks

  • VickiKirwinVickiKirwin Courageous Posts: 69Member Courageous

    Hi ruud1boy

    Apologies for the delay replying but…

    Yes, it is possible to do REM tests on 'open fit' hearing aids. The REM may sound like a sweep of tones or white noise but importantly there would be an additional headworn earpiece with a tiny plastic tube in the ear canal along with the hearing aid. REMs are often done in the office rather than a soundproofed room as this isn’t necessary for this type of test.  

    I think it’s worth asking your audiologist to check the settings again on the left side if it still sounds flat or dull. This is often because you’re not hearing as much high frequency as you need to which could be because of the hearing aid settings, or may be because of some fluid/congestion left behind your eardrum from the cold. If this is the case it should improve with time as that clears but the audiologist can check your ears for this fluid using a simple test called tympanometry. And yes, it is important that the two aids feel balanced for hearing as they would normally. I hope your ear isn’t blocked with wax because the audiologist should have looked for this before performing the REMs and wouldn’t have been able to if wax was present. 

    If at the end of the day you remain unhappy with your current clinic, don’t give up on the hearing aids, but ask your GP to refer you to another clinic for a second opinion. You don’t have a legal right to demand this but doctors rarely refuse. All the best getting them sorted. 

    Vicki

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