Self-fitting hearing aids are a relatively new concept originally promoted by HearSource.com. Self-Fitting hearing aids are ideal for those who have difficulty accessing hearing health care professional services (e.g., clients who have physical disabilities or live in remote areas and third world countries, where professional hearing health care services are not readily available) or by those individuals who desire to take total control of their own hearing aid sound settings. A fully self-fitted hearing aid is commercially available from HearSource in the HearSource brand.
What Is a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid?
A self-fitting hearing aid should exhibit four features. First, it should allow for the evaluation of hearing thresholds frequency by frequency to yield an initial hearing aid fitting. The initial fitting should approximate a correction for the user’s hearing loss. It will also serve as the starting point for the user to fine-tune (second feature) the hearing aid’s sound settings themselves.
The third feature involves the self-fitting hearing aids meeting the continuing hearing needs of the user without follow-up assistance from a hearing professional. Hearing aid users would start with initial fitting, then the users would fine-tune the hearing aids by making changes to the parameters to their own sound settings live in various real-life hearing situations.
The fourth feature allows for the consumer to physically fit and use the aid without the assistance of a hearing professional. A set of instructions and a self-fit kit are used for the wearer or the caregiver to assemble the aid and its accessories (e.g., self-fit tips and tubing in various sizes, batteries) and for the user to wear the instrument in daily situations.
For self-fitting hearing aids, it is important that clients follow the prescribed instructions to obtain the initial fitting and immediately follow up with the fine-tuning of the hearing aids before going out to real-life situations. This not only ensures comfort but good speech intelligibility.
Four studies showed that adult hearing aid users with sensorineural hearing loss (the most common type) were able to perform their own hearing aid sound adjustments with relative ease and that they preferred there own outcomes vs. professional fit hearing aids (Dreschler et al., 2008; Keidser, Dillon, et al., 2008; Mueller et al., 2008; Zakis et al., 2007).
Benefits Of Self-Fitting Hearing Aids
The benefits that self-fitting hearing aids provide can not be underestimated. Self-fitting hearing aids, if successfully implemented, allow clients to achieve the best fittings in the comfort of their own home and allow hearing aid fittings where there are limited professional hearing health care services available.
Keidser, Convery, and Dillon (2007) found that in a laboratory setting, 91% of clients they interviewed were positive about the idea of a self-Fitting hearing aids. In addition, about three quarters of their participants were willing to spend up to a few weeks fine-tuning their hearing aids.
According to Kochkin (2007), among non hearing aid users who did not use hearing aids because of low benefit and background noise, 19% of them would consider purchasing hearing aids if the aids could be personally adjusted. Because the hearing aid is customized to the user’s own living environment, it gives the users a sense of ownership of their hearing issues as well as the control to overcome it. When decisions between comfort, sound quality, and speech intelligibility is needed, users make their own decisions.
Self-fitting hearing aids can produce equivalent or better outcomes, compared to professionally fit hearing aids. Additional benefits include cost savings. Self-Fitting hearing aids can be purchased from online hearing aids vendors such as HearSource.com, saving the consumer thousand of dollars. Also, Self-Fitting hearing aids are professionally supported by Hearsource and may be remotely programmed by us providing the best of both worlds. Self-Fitting hearing aids and the control of the sound setting by the consumer and professional support when needed.
For more infotmation on Self-Fitting or Personal Programmable hearing aids, please call 1-800-416-2434, Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific time) USA.