At Aston Hearing we have always endeavoured to use the latest advances in technology to benefit our clients.
Today’s more sophisticated digital signal processing hearing aids incorporate many adjustable features with millions of different combinations of settings in their programming capability. Therefore, more advanced techniques are needed to ensure the hearing aids fitted are providing maximum benefit to the wearer.
Speech in Noise (SPIN)
A Speech-in-Noise test will give you an indication of how well you can understand speech in a noisy environment. The various background noises that are present in day-to-day life can sometimes make listening difficult – especially when trying to understand speech. In this respect, Speech-in-Noise tests are designed to mimic real-life circumstances.
A person with a hearing loss will often be less able to understand speech, especially in noisy conditions. This is especially true for people who have a sensorineural hearing loss – which is by far the most common type of loss. At Aston Hearing Services we use Speech-in-Noise tests as a verification measure which can provide valuable information about a person’s hearing ability, and can be used to verify the benefit of hearing aid amplification.
Visual Speech Mapping (VSM)
Visible Speech Mapping (VSM) is a hardware and software technology, which works in conjunction with equipment for hearing assessments and can be of use in one of two ways.
Firstly, it helps the client and their families visualise the hearing loss and provides an objective demonstration of different hearing aid features. The client and his or her family, spouse or companion can be provided with an understanding of the hearing loss using voice and sounds that the patient will encounter in the real world.
Secondly, one can see how voices and sounds are affected by the hearing aids worn by the client. Each patient has a unique hearing loss and similarly each has a differently shaped ear canal. The latter can have a significant impact on the way sounds are transmitted through the ear.
How does it work? By placing a microphone inside the ear canal we can accurately measure the sound being produced at the eardrum by the hearing aid. This can be viewed live on a monitor which makes it easy to understand. The effects of any fine-tuning or an adjustments made to the hearing aid(s) can be seen immediately on screen. Unlike previous verification tools VSM can use live voice from a spouse or partner, music or recorded sounds from every-day life. The response of the hearing aid, that is the amplification it is producing, can be checked to see if it amplifying speech to the required level for the person’s hearing loss any deviation can then be identified and adjusted appropriately.
Gold Standard –VSM is now considered the “gold standard” in verifying that the hearing aids fitted are performing as required. Speech mapping data can be obtained quickly and easily without tiring the hearing aid wearer. This system provides a useful and invaluable tool for the hearing aid audiologist and the person wearing the hearing aid.
“As you know I have a very serious hearing loss in both ears. I think I have been attending your practice for over 10 years and I have always been delighted with advice and treatment received. It is only some seven weeks since I had the VSM session with you. Well Duncan it really has had a wonderful result. As you know you adjusted my aids to the VSM results and I can definitely detect speech more easily, especially in a noisy setting. So, I can only whole-heartedly recommend all your customers to have VSM – I feel it is the best value £40 I’ve ever had!”