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Best Practices Checklist

Why I Only Recommend PREMIUM Hearing Aid Technology Levels

By: Dr Cliff Olson
February 19, 2019
Video Transcript

If you’ve spent some time researching hearing aids, then you have probably noticed that almost every hearing aid manufacturer offers several different levels of hearing aid technology. The higher the technology, the more features the devices have, and the more money you will ultimately spend on those devices.

Here are some of those features that make premium level hearing aids better:

1. Better noise reduction -  Hearing aid manufacturers spend millions of dollars researching ways improve Signal to Noise Ratio by just a few Decibels.  

Even these few decibels can mean the difference between you understanding a friend in a noisy restaurant, and you asking “what” all of the time and having to read their lips. The higher the tech level, the better they will perform in background noise.

2. More automatic features - Premium level hearing aids have the ability to automatically adjust to your environment.  They constantly survey the environment and put you into better program settings than you could select on your own.  No more need for a push button so you can do it yourself.

3. More Adjustment Handles - The more advanced the hearing aid, the better it can be customized to your hearing loss. These adjustment handles are like a piano keyboard.  The more keys the better. Imagine if you reduced the amount of keys to 5 and tried to play a song.  Not having enough adjustment handles can prevent you from exactly matching your hearing loss prescription.  Some of the best hearing aids offer up to 20 adjustment handles while the lower level ones can have as little as 3.

Now these are all great reasons to recommend ONLY premium level hearing aids, but the Main reason I recommend premium level technology is that it ensures that you don't leave any benefit on the table.  

With lower level technology, you will always wonder if you are hearing your best.  With premium hearing aids, you never have to wonder.Naturally, there are some people who will say "of course you only recommend the premium technology, that is how you make the most money".  The truth is, premium technology costs a clinic more than lower level technology, and often results in a lower profit margin.  

However, it is worth it to ensure that you can hear your best.The way I see it, the only reason people come to me to maximize their hearing ability. I can try and do this handcuffed by a device that takes this control out of my hands, or I can use a product that allows me to achieve their maximum potential. If you are only looking to gain back part of your hearing, you’re probably wasting your money by coming to me.

Do I fit some patients with technology levels below premium?

Of course I do. Sometimes a patient’s residual hearing is so bad they won’t even perceive the benefits of a Premium level device, but these hearing losses are few and far between. Typically these are individuals who really need a Cochlear Implant, but don’t qualify for medical reasons.All this being said, paying for Premium level technology would be a waste if you don’t have Real Ear Measurement performed on them to ensure proper programming of the devices.  Check out my Real Ear Measurement video here: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY

At the end of the day, if you want to hear your best, you should always select premium hearing aid technology.  But only if your hearing care provider follows best practices like Real Ear Measurement, because otherwise, you are just flushing that extra money you spent right down the toilet.

Dr Cliff's Thoughts

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