Sample sounds for hearing aid adjustments?

Posted by glkrause1117 @glkrause1117, Feb 17 11:33am

Is there an app or series of prerecorded audio tracks that have a mix of speech and various background noises? I have a set of aids that allow programming of different options but when I'm with the audiologist I can't tell the effects of the adjustments will have in real world situations until I leave the office and randomly come across those scenarios. I'd like to try various settings while I'm there. Thanks.

@glkrause1117 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

That's a great question. Members like @nla4625 @ken82 @julieo4 @faithwalker007 @earscan may be able to help answer.

Have you considered using something like television or you tube videos?

REPLY

This would be an excellent tool. However, I have never heard of such a product. If you find out this is available, please let us know. Many who are tech savvy would benefit from this.

REPLY

@glkrause1117 I have just recorded on my smart phone the voices that I have to deal with most often.. That recording picks up the problem enunciations I have to deal with.. k

REPLY

Innovative idea. Do those people you deal with most often have accents different than your own?

REPLY

absolutely – this has been available for years. In fact, Starkey sold a great sound system that had different voices, nature sounds, running water. I use the QSIN test, which is speech in noise. It starts out with different sentences and no background noise and then each different sentence is given with different background noises and the hearing aids are on the patient and adjusted accordingly. Sort of like the eye doc using different lenses until the best one is chosen. Don't think that the Starkey Sound Booths caught on. But first, get a free field test without headphones. Then get tested under phones with a high tones, filters, etc., added to see how much higher your speech discrimination can be. Good testing is imperative to programming the hearing instruments well so the audiogram is very subjective. Hope this helps! Gina

REPLY

Yes, the QSIN or SPIN test should be standard in testing for hearing loss, especially when people emphatically state that they can hear when there is no background noise. BGN is the main culprit for people with sensorineural hearing loss. Even subtle sounds like water running or fans blowing can interfere with our ability to hear. This test is probably my most hated piece of a testing session. It's hard to take 'a test' that you know you're going to fail.

Testing is without a doubt, the key to getting fit well with hearing instruments and also for programming cochlear implants. I do think it might help people who are first time hearing aid users to have some kind of recorded piece that would simulate these difficult situations while they try their hearing instruments in different settings. Especially now when they cannot go to many of those places. While Starkey may have such a program for audiologists to use, I have never heard of such a program being available for people to use independently. If there is one, how do I get it?

REPLY
@julieo4

Yes, the QSIN or SPIN test should be standard in testing for hearing loss, especially when people emphatically state that they can hear when there is no background noise. BGN is the main culprit for people with sensorineural hearing loss. Even subtle sounds like water running or fans blowing can interfere with our ability to hear. This test is probably my most hated piece of a testing session. It's hard to take 'a test' that you know you're going to fail.

Testing is without a doubt, the key to getting fit well with hearing instruments and also for programming cochlear implants. I do think it might help people who are first time hearing aid users to have some kind of recorded piece that would simulate these difficult situations while they try their hearing instruments in different settings. Especially now when they cannot go to many of those places. While Starkey may have such a program for audiologists to use, I have never heard of such a program being available for people to use independently. If there is one, how do I get it?

Jump to this post

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate this auditory scene. If we think about how individuals who use hearing aids function in real life, the following conclusions seem inevitable:1.They don’t spend a great deal of time listening in small sound-treated chambers.2.They are not always facing the source of the speech message.3.When they do face the talker, they enjoy the benefits of a rich panoply of helpful visual cues.4.The sources of competition are more likely to be the speech of other persons than temporally or spectrally modulated noises.5.The level of the speech to which they are attending may vary over time rather than remaining constant.

The above is copied from Starkey Audiology. The below is research done by Phonak. Also, Etynomic Research out of Texas provides many recordings of simulated real life noises for speech tests and are valuable in doing a quantitative evaluation of hearing instruments used in different environments.

The Phonak Audiology Research Center believes that real-world testing is an essential element to understanding how hearing aids are performing. Testing in a well-controlled sound booth is the “gold standard” in terms of research design and replicability. We know, however, that as internal control increases, the ability to generalize performance to the real world decreases. That is why at PARC we focus on research in both highly-controlled research environments, but also recognize the importance of testing in the real-world. Both are essential to understand hearing aid performance.

The Listening Loft, a reverberant room in the PARC designed to look and feel like the first floor of a home or an apartment, provides one such example of how the real world can be brought into the research environment. This space allows for hearing aid users to provide feedback and complete performance testing in a reverberant space, layering elements like a TV playing in the background and speech from a distance- both of which cannot be assessed easily in a sound booth.

REPLY
@erikas

@glkrause1117 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

That's a great question. Members like @nla4625 @ken82 @julieo4 @faithwalker007 @earscan may be able to help answer.

Have you considered using something like television or you tube videos?

Jump to this post

I think these “experts” in fitting and selling hearing aids should have a TV for customers to listen to as well as background or table conversation to decipher. In a typical four walled, quiet 20 by 10 square office, I can hear pretty well. But then REALITY HITS when I leave, And the computer high tech hearing aids do not automatically adjust nor send reports to the manufacturer, and I am left with fiddling with buttons on the devices as usual.

REPLY
@coppermoon

I think these “experts” in fitting and selling hearing aids should have a TV for customers to listen to as well as background or table conversation to decipher. In a typical four walled, quiet 20 by 10 square office, I can hear pretty well. But then REALITY HITS when I leave, And the computer high tech hearing aids do not automatically adjust nor send reports to the manufacturer, and I am left with fiddling with buttons on the devices as usual.

Jump to this post

@coppermoon, I agree. The hearing aid manufacturers boast how well their newest products are the best in the world for cancelling background noise, yet we still struggle with understanding speech in noise. We say "prove it", yet the audiologists do not try to simulate real world conditions in their offices. We are told to use the products and come back if there are problems. So, we go to a party and the aids fail miserably. We go for a reprogramming and are asked to try again. By the time we get to another social function, the 30 day trial period has expired. We are stuck with them without being able to try another brand. But, with any brand, we end up with the same problem. The manufacturers need to give us more control of the hearing aids to better adjust for different listening environments. We need not fall for their advertising gimmicks.
Tony in Michigan

REPLY

Thanks Tony. Right on. The advertising done on hearing aids is terribly deceiving. For years they have featured noise cancellation in their products. It's a bit sales pitch because that is what bothers hard of hearing people most; hearing in noisy settings. While it has gotten a bit better, there isn't a perfect solution for the background noise issue. Most who manage background noise well use add on assistive technology that works with their hearing aids. That assistive technology is visible. That further distorts things because the advertising also features 'invisibility' and 'so small no one will know you're wearing it'. Isn't it time the hearing aid industry stops marketing denial? It's also time the people who sell hearing aids share information about assistive devices with their clients. People should not have to learn about these options through non profit organizations, list serves, Facebook pages, etc.

Coppermoon brings up the need for more realistic testing. Definitely an issue. Testing should also include demonstration of controllable special features on the hearing aid that is fitted. How do telecoils work? Where can they be used? Are there assistive devices available for this particular hearing aid? What places are recommended for trying my new hearing aid(s) out during the trial period? Etc. People walk out of the fitter's offices overwhelmed. 30 days is not nearly enough time to test the product.

REPLY
@julieo4

Thanks Tony. Right on. The advertising done on hearing aids is terribly deceiving. For years they have featured noise cancellation in their products. It's a bit sales pitch because that is what bothers hard of hearing people most; hearing in noisy settings. While it has gotten a bit better, there isn't a perfect solution for the background noise issue. Most who manage background noise well use add on assistive technology that works with their hearing aids. That assistive technology is visible. That further distorts things because the advertising also features 'invisibility' and 'so small no one will know you're wearing it'. Isn't it time the hearing aid industry stops marketing denial? It's also time the people who sell hearing aids share information about assistive devices with their clients. People should not have to learn about these options through non profit organizations, list serves, Facebook pages, etc.

Coppermoon brings up the need for more realistic testing. Definitely an issue. Testing should also include demonstration of controllable special features on the hearing aid that is fitted. How do telecoils work? Where can they be used? Are there assistive devices available for this particular hearing aid? What places are recommended for trying my new hearing aid(s) out during the trial period? Etc. People walk out of the fitter's offices overwhelmed. 30 days is not nearly enough time to test the product.

Jump to this post

Reply to Tony and Julie: I fear that the process is going the wrong way, thanks to Covid. Lots of places are scheduling fewer appts. at greater intervals for safety, which means that lots of us get discouraged about making an appt. sometime in the future. Social distancing (I hate that term!) means that everyone is far more careful about being close to anyone else…including the audi or fitter in the tiny soundproof room. I recently bought new glasses. When I went back to pick them up, the person simply handed them to me…no checking to see that the prescription was correct or that the frames fit properly. Because I wear one aid instead of two, my glasses frames really need to be bent slightly out of shape on that side to accommodate the aid, but the person said, "you can come back later if you feel it needs an adjustment." Helpful! I've found that not only do the frames need to be adjusted to fit my aid, but they're not tight enough on my head, so I now have a new thing to do: push my multi-focal specs up every few minutes so that I'm looking through the correct part of the lenses.
We all crave "getting back to normal," but I fear that normal is a thing of the past for many things, even simple ones, like a person to bag your groceries while you pony up the store's card, any coupons, and method of payment. When I'm out of our small town, I shop in a discount grocery where it's set up for us to bag our own stuff. The clerks are trained to remind you when it's time to pay (and I ask them to wave at me because I don't hear well), and all goes smoothly. The only supermarket in our small town is a national chain, and it was not set up for self-bagging. They've removed the small bit of counter for writing checks or placing the card, coupons, and cash, and there's no convenient place to bag your own groceries, plus the clerks don't yet know how to handle a customer 10' away, so it's all inefficient–but, once Covid is a thing of the bad past, I'll bet that they won't go back to providing bagging service!
Covid has been a fine excuse for everyone to deal more remotely, offer less service, and I don't think it will go back to the way it was. That means that we'll need to fight harder to get more realistic places to try aids before leaving the clinic or store. I hear "too well" right now for a CI in my long-useless ear; in a sound booth without background noise, I comprehend 55% of simple sentences. That's a far cry from the real world where there are often several kinds of noise and the sentences aren't always simple. We need to have realistic places to try out aids and get them adjusted. We also need to have enough time to ask all the questions we have.

REPLY
@julieo4

Thanks Tony. Right on. The advertising done on hearing aids is terribly deceiving. For years they have featured noise cancellation in their products. It's a bit sales pitch because that is what bothers hard of hearing people most; hearing in noisy settings. While it has gotten a bit better, there isn't a perfect solution for the background noise issue. Most who manage background noise well use add on assistive technology that works with their hearing aids. That assistive technology is visible. That further distorts things because the advertising also features 'invisibility' and 'so small no one will know you're wearing it'. Isn't it time the hearing aid industry stops marketing denial? It's also time the people who sell hearing aids share information about assistive devices with their clients. People should not have to learn about these options through non profit organizations, list serves, Facebook pages, etc.

Coppermoon brings up the need for more realistic testing. Definitely an issue. Testing should also include demonstration of controllable special features on the hearing aid that is fitted. How do telecoils work? Where can they be used? Are there assistive devices available for this particular hearing aid? What places are recommended for trying my new hearing aid(s) out during the trial period? Etc. People walk out of the fitter's offices overwhelmed. 30 days is not nearly enough time to test the product.

Jump to this post

@julieo4 Thank goodness that HLAA folks are out there to help fill the gaps that audiologists leave. We understand hearing loss better than most of the audi's. The only exception would be those with hearing loss that go into the field of audiology. You're right, we leave the audiologist's office not knowing a thing about the psycho-social aspect of living with hearing loss. Our spouses are not educated about communication strategies. We are not told about other Hearing Assitive Technology (HAT) that could be helpful, let alone the T-coil. Even if we did ask, as you've mentioned, they are most likely clueless on where to go to really give it a work out. Some walk out of their appointment not knowing that there may be options to better understand on the phone, with or without an auxiliary device. I even had to learn to use the app myself. The absolute worst thought is that we, as mentors, do what we do at no cost. Audiology needs to change.
Tony in Michigan

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.