Verification and validation are techniques that are used to ensure hearing aid performance and end-user satisfaction. Despite the many benefits, these techniques are often overlooked during fitting.
Some common reasons are:
- Unclear on test result interpretation or how to convey results to patients, and/or belief that digital hearing aids cannot be verified by real ear
- Not knowing when to verify or validate
- Perceptions that the measurement/probe placement may be uncomfortable for patients
- Changing technology (open fits, digitals, etc.) negate the use of real ear
- Real-ear or validation measures do not necessarily lead to more sales
- Cannot bill for specific procedure
- Lack of confidence in procedures
- Do not own up-to-date real-ear equipment
- Feel that if the patient is happy with the fitting, verification and validation measures do not matter
- Time pressures in a busy clinic
Below are some of the benefits of using verification and validation in your fittings.
- Less than 12% of targets on the manufacturer’s fitting software screen match what is actually measured in the patient’s ear
- Fitting software often overestimates the gain in the higher frequencies
- Target gain settings represent the amount of gain the manufacturer would expect someone with an average ear size to obtain. Gain is therefore more or less than the average if the end-user has a smaller or larger ear than shown in the software
- Target settings may not be adequate for patient benefit, especially in regards to speech intelligibility. If gain levels aren’t high enough based on the individual’s ear, they may not receive enough amplification for improved speech intelligibility
Verification and validation measures ensure that the hearing aids are providing the appropriate amounts of amplification that will benefit patients in real life.