Anyone who likes to keep up on what’s going on in the world of hearing aid technology will be interested in the October issue of Hearing Review. This issue manages to be a kind of mini-seminar on things related to hearing aid fitting ranging from a refresher on why directional microphones don’t do the same thing for everybody, to a thought-provoking comparison of hearing rehabilitation for adults to the individualized educational plans put together for school-aged children in special education. In between there are articles that answer questions about how to apply frequency compression in a careful and thoughtful manner, how important the overlooked aspect of signal-to-noise ratio estimation can be in determining how favorably noise reduction is perceived by users, and how the level of sophistication of directional processing doesn’t necessarily correlate exactly with improvements in speech recognition. And the reprinted blog by Gael Hannon where she muses on how hearing loss research affects her is an entertaining must-read.
The cover story article in this issue on “How to Verify Wireless Technology” is also of great interest. And I’m not saying that just because my colleagues in Global Audiology, Charlotte Jespersen, and Otometrics, Peter Kossek, are co-authors. Digital wireless technology in hearing aids is being applied in all sorts of ways and has become a kind of black box where things go on that we hope are good for patients but we don’t have established ways of verifying that this is indeed the case. This article offers practical advice that can inspire creative ways to measure and learn about what some of the advanced features in hearing aids that rely on wireless technology actually do. Many of these types of features can be examined with real ear and testbox equipment that is already in your office. As the authors conclude, digital wireless-based features in hearing aids don’t have to be a mystery. The clinician’s understanding of them can be based on observations (evidence) and can help lead to more informed choices for patients.