About Wayne Staab

Dr. Wayne Staab is an internationally recognized authority on hearing aids. As President of Dr. Wayne J. Staab and Associates, he is engaged in consulting, research, development, manufacturing, education, and marketing projects related to hearing. Interests away from business include fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, golf, travel, tennis, softball, lecturing, sporting clays, 4-wheeling, archery, swimming, guitar, computers, and photography. Among other pursuits.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the information! It’s really interesting to learn more about how audiologists determine which hearing aids are acceptable for patients to use. I can see why making sure that factors like the amplification level and the sound in a hearing aid are acceptable for patients. Hearing is such a huge part of functioning in every day life, so providing equipment that will allow a person to hear like everyone else definitely has to have quality sound.
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  2. Surely the most obvious remedy for this problem is to reduce the gain in the peak area before applying excessive levels of feedback reduction thus reducing all three complaints but also taking into consideration the above comments with regard to partial cochlea implantation in those cases that apply.

  3. Please clarify your definition of “high frequency emphasis” when you write,

    “Reviewing the open coupler responses in Figure 2 provides evidence that substantial high-frequency amplification occurs – and perhaps way too much high-frequency emphasis resulting from the vents/leakage in the ear tip. Too much high-frequency emphasis often results in a hearing aid sounding `scratchy, distorted, shrill, etc.’”

    Is your definition of “high frequency emphasis” one of peak gain, or the slope of the transfer function? This is important, as for troubleshooting purposes you have conflated the complaints of “shrill” and “scratchy, distorted” as they can have vastly different causes… And solutions:

    • If the complaint is “shrill” that implies the patient is hearing the high frequencies clearly; and conventional techniques to address this will work;

    • If the complaint is “scratchy” or “distorted” (think of a blown loudspeaker driver), then this implies driving high frequency sound into a cochlear dead zone, typically meaning inner hair cell integrity has been compromised; but it could also mean there is cochlear synaptopathy (misfiring of the synapses at the inner hair cell — spiral ganglion junction), neurodegeration of the spiral ganglion, or any combination of the three¹ …And the method of dealing with this high frequency distortion is to steer around it with frequency lowering; or in more extreme cases, electroacoustic stimulation (EAS) with hybrid cochlear implant/hearing aids with residual hearing preservation.²

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