Hearing Aid Internet Baffle

Wayne Staab
July 1, 2012

Send This Hearing Aid Fitting Request to Your Competitor


“Dr. Staab, when you get engineers as hearing aid customers, what’s the best way to handle them?  They often have a better understanding of electronics than I do, I often can’t answer questions they ask, or find at times that they tend to somewhat arrogant or all-knowing.”

My response – “Send them to your nearest competitor and let him/her drive them out of business.”

This is obviously said in jest – but not entirely.  This population can indeed tax your patience and expertise, the time spent may be extraordinary, and often results in little satisfaction to both parties.

However, the other day I received a letter (true) that may have presented a challenge more daunting than any of my engineer patients.  And, as a result, I may have to add another category – Internet Baffle.  This is the individual who is interested in hearing aids and completes an entire Internet review of all hearing aid features that have been said to provide an advantage, and attempts to integrate all of the promotional “catch words” into a single hearing aid, regardless of whether they contradict other features, or even if they make sense.

Letter Request

The letter that caused me to blog on this asked:  “Can you recommend “hearing aids” that incorporate and utilize the following specific features and characteristics from the attached list that can best manage tinnitus caused by noise induced hearing loss at frequencies above 4000 Hz?”

List of Features Requested

The list of features desired in the hearing aids for this person follows:

Characteristics and Features for my Customized Hearing Aids

  1. Programmed for extra sensitivity to higher frequencies, 4000 Hz to 10,000 Hz, which is the location of my hearing loss as documented by many audiological tests at the University of __________.  Specific amplification for these higher frequencies, but including wide broadband.  I need this “fine tuning” for my hearing loss.  Maximum pitch level to be set.
  2. Special features for “acoustic neural stimulation.”
  3. “Multi-channel compression technology” for highest frequencies.
  4. “Expansion” activated to benefit “high-frequency loss.”
  5. “Extended gain” at high frequencies.
  6. “Adaptive feedback cancellation” to eliminate feedback from high pitched frequencies.
  7. “Four (4) channel processing.”
  8. “Advanced programmable technology” to allow adjustment to my specific hearing loss characteristics.
  9. “Replicate” hard to hear higher frequency sounds in lower frequencies.
  10. “Automatic gain control – output.”
  11. “Automatic gain control – input.”
  12. “Directional input technology.”
  13. “Digital noise reduction.”
  14. “Automatic feedback reduction.”
  15. Expand “bandwidth” and “multiple channels” to adjust processing based upon my individual hearing loss and the frequencies of sound in my environment.
  16. Locate frequencies of “tinnitus” and program hearing aids to “cut-out” frequencies one (1) octave above and one (1) octave below the “main” frequencies of my “tinnitus” (the target frequencies) during a part of each day.
  17. “3-S receiver.”
  18. Widest “broadband noise setting” from 250 Hz to 10,000 Hz.
  19. Programmed for “randomized amplitude modification.”
  20. Programmed for “frequency shaping.”
  21. Programmed for “environmental steering” – to allow for automatic adjustment to listening environment so as not to “mask tinnitus.”
  22. “Data logging” feature to record I am using my hearing aids and my sound environment.  This will allow further “customizing” of my hearing aids to objective data.

Where to start?  I don’t know, but I do have a hearing aid dispenser down the street who is my major competitor and I am certain that he would like to have this referral – whether he knows it or not.

  1. I think this man just called my office for an appointment….

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