Why I Only Recommend PREMIUM Hearing Aid Technology Levels


In this video, I’m talking
about why I only recommend premium level hearing aid
technology, coming up. (funky music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology, and founder of Applied Hearing
Solutions in Anthem, Arizona. And on this channel, I cover a bunch of hearing related information to help make you a
better informed consumer. So if you’re into that, make sure you hit that subscribe button. And don’t forget to click the
bell to receive a notification every time I post a new video. If you’ve spent any time at
all researching hearing aids, you’ve probably identified
that different manufacturers have different levels of
hearing aid technology. The higher in technology,
the level that you go, the more features that
hearing aid will have. But they’ll also cost you more money. So let’s go over these
different hearing aid features and see why they justify
this additional expense. Number one is hearing
better in background noise. Hearing aid manufacturers
spend millions of dollars each year trying to reduce
the signal to noise ratio of their hearing aids by a few decibels. But this few decibel reduction
in signal to noise ratio can mean the difference between you hearing and
understanding a friend that you’re eating with at a restaurant, or not hearing them, and having to watch their
mouth the entire time that you’re eating. So the better technology
level that you have, the better you’ll hear
in background noise. Number two is better automatic
adjustment capabilities of the hearing aids. Premium level hearing aid technology does a better job of auto identifying whatever environment that you’re in, and actually putting your hearing aids into the best program settings for that particular environment. So if you’re the type of person who does not like to push a
push button to change programs, based on the environment that you’re in, premium level hearing aids
will help do that for you, and do it better than you
can do it on your own. Here’s an example of a
premium level hearing aid that has different program settings, depending on which
environment that you’re in. If you’re taking a car ride, the hearing aid automatically
puts you into the car program. If you’re in a restaurant, the hearing aid automatically identifies that
you’re in a noisy situation, and either puts you into a
speech and noise program, or speech and loud noise program. If you’re listening to music, the hearing aid will
put you into a program that is designed
specifically to leave music as natural as possible. If you want your hearing
aids to just flat out work without you having to worry
about making adjustments, depending on the
environment that you’re in, then premium level hearing
technology makes a lot of sense. And a third feature is
more adjustment handles. Premium level hearing aids have
more adjustment capability, so the hearing care professional
that you’re working with can customize them even better. Think of a piano keyboard. Now imagine a piano keyboard
with only five keys. If you restrict the amount
of keys on a keyboard down to five, your ability
to play quality music would be extremely restricted. Most premium level hearing aids have up to 20 adjustment handles than can be used to program a hearing aid at very narrow frequency ranges. While basic hearing aid models can have as little as
three adjustment handles, that only allow for broad adjustments in the low, middle and
high frequency ranges. Not having enough adjustment handles can result in over-amplifying some areas for your hearing lost prescription, while under-amplifying others. While having up to 20 adjustment handles will allow for almost an
exact prescription match throughout your entire hearing loss range. Now these are all great
reasons to recommend premium hearing aid technology, but the main reason that
I primarily recommend premium level technology verses
all other technology levels is because I do not wanna
leave any benefit on the table. If you end up going with the
lower levels of technology, you will be hearing better, but you’re always gonna
find yourself in situations that you’re gonna be
like could I hear better in this situation? And the answer is most definitely yes. Now naturally, I’m
expecting some of you to say of course you’re recommending only premium hearing aid technology. That is what costs more,
and you’re a greedy guy, and you’re trying to get as much money from your patients as possible. But the fact of the matter is is that I actually make less money dispensing premium level technology than I do any other level, and that’s because it costs
me more to get those devices from a manufacturer. And I’d rather eat some of the cost of those premium level devices so my patients can hear better. Now when you start to calculate out how much additional it
will cost you to go from a second tier device up
to a premium level device, you’re looking at anywhere
between $200 increase in cost for a single hearing aid,
up to $500 increase cost of a single hearing aid. And then when you look at for the lifespan of a hearing aid being
around 4.4 years, on average, and I would say that that’s a
pretty conservative estimate, I would say that you could
probably get substantially longer than that if you take really
good care of your devices, but let’s just take four
years, for instance. If you increase the
cost of your technology by 400 to $1000, you’re
only gonna be spending, really on average,
about 100 extra dollars, to 250 extra dollars per year, for both of your hearing aids. The way I see it is that
people primarily come to me in my clinic because they want to maximize their hearing potential
with their hearing devices. And so I can either try
to accomplish that task with a lower level piece
of hearing aid technology, which is like trying to
program that hearing aid with my hands tied behind my back. Or they can go with
premium level technology that lets me do whatever I need to do to maximize their hearing potential. So the natural question
is, do I ever fit someone with hearing aid technology that is not at the premium level, and the answer is of course, yes. If there is patients who come into me with existing technology, and they want me to fix the programming in those hearing aids, I’m absolutely happy to do that. And then there’s other
individuals who have residual hearing that is so bad that fitting them with
a premium level device doesn’t make any sense, ’cause they’re not even gonna perceive all the benefit from those devices. I typically think of these individuals as cochlear implant candidates, but for whatever reason, they either can’t or don’t want to go through surgery. Those are the individuals that I fit lower levels of technology on. Now all this being said, paying for premium level
hearing aid technology would be a waste of money if you don’t have best
practices performed on them during your hearing aid fitting, like real ear measurement. And let me show you
what I’m talking about. Here is a graph that shows performance in background noise with
a variety of high tech, premium level hearing aids, and an old analog hearing aid. The shorter the bars, the
better the user’s performance in a noisy situation. The long, black bars
indicate the performance of a modern, premium level hearing aid, when that hearing aid is programmed without using real ear measurement. The shorter gray bars
indicate the performance of the same hearing aids,
when they are programmed using real ear measurement. You can see that even an
old analog hearing aid performs better than a modern premium technology level hearing aid, when those hearing aids are not programmed using real ear measurement. I don’t care how advanced
the hearing aid is, it will not perform up
to its full capacity without real ear measurement
performed on them. Now this is just one example of why you need real ear
measurement performed on your hearing aids, during
your hearing aid fitting. Nearly every additional feature that you find in a
premium level hearing aid will be negatively impacted if you do not have real ear
measurement done on them. This basically means
that you’re gonna take whatever additional money that you spent on those premium level devices, and flush it right down the toilet. So if you wanna achieve whatever your max performance ability is, then premium level hearing aid
technology is the way to go. But this is only if best
practices are followed when fitting your hearing aids, and this includes real ear measurement. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. If you wanna see other
videos just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. I’ll see ya next time. (happy music)