A growing number of persons are eschewing medical paternalism and opting to self-direct their own care. Today it is common for patients to self-monitor a wide range of bodily conditions including heart rate, EKG data and blood pressure using a smartphone-based app. Additionally, in what ordinarily required a face-to-face visit with a medical professional, patients can use computer-based decision aids to help them navigate complex decisions about treatment options – often without leaving the comforts of home.
The use of these computerized decision aids is now beginning to make its way into hearing healthcare. One such example, recently introduced by Hearing Tracker under the direction its founder, Abram Bailey, is a personalized hearing aid matching engine.
Hearing Aid Selection Tool
Hearing Tracker’s hearing aid matching engine works by matching a current (or potential) hearing aid consumer’s hearing priorities with hearing aid features that may help address the consumer’s top communication priorities. Through a series of questions accessed through a link at the Hearing Tracker website, the decision aid attempts to match the priorities of the patient to specific hearing aids.
According to Bailey, when a consumer completes the hearing aid match survey, they are asked about their hearing loss level, communication priorities, as well as accessory and device preferences and purchase preferences. In total, the survey includes about 25 questions and can be accessed here.
The hearing aid matching tool is an outgrowth of Hearing Tracker’s extensive hearing aid database. Since the inception of Hearing Tracker, Bailey has painstakingly entered hearing aid product details from manufacturer spec sheets, occasionally with input from the hearing aid manufacturers. Bailey told HHTM that every proprietary hearing aid feature is mapped onto a generic feature so that brand A and brand B can be compared in a more apples to apples manner by both consumers and professionals. By reading manufacturer’s white papers and directly communicating with the manufacturer’s product specialists, Bailey is able decipher the jargon manufactures often use to describe various features and compare hearing aids across generic feature sets.
Using this computer-based matching system, prospective hearing aid users, who might be starting from ground zero, have a handy, impartial tool to assist in the hearing aid selection process. Also, the matching tool could be helpful for long-term hearing aid users who might be unfamiliar with some of the newer features found in the latest hearing aids such as wireless streaming and rechargeable hearing aid batteries.
Finally, because Hearing Tracker’s matching tool does not have any brand preferences, it could also be employed by clinicians during a counseling session with patients in the clinic to provide them with unbiased information about hearing aid models and features.
You can check out Hearing Tracker’s hearing aid matching engine for yourself by clicking here.
Source: Hearing Tracker