A hearing instrument specialist (HIS) is a professional who helps someone experiencing hearing loss find the right hearing device to communicate with those around them. They will work with their clients to assess their current level of hearing, as well as factoring in their lifestyle, budget and aesthetic preferences.
What is a hearing instrument specialist?
A HIS is a professional with expertise in hearing aid selection, fitting and repairs. A HIS can test for hearing loss and help the individual find a solution for their specific needs. HIS often deal with presbycusis, which is the technical term for hearing loss caused by aging.
This is a common condition that HIS would treat through a hearing aid recommendation. The HIS will usually assess the patient and make a recommendation based on their results and symptoms. Once a hearing aid has been selected by the patient, the HIS will continue to liaise with the patient during the fitting of the hearing aid.
A HIS will calibrate the hearing aid making sure it works well for the user. They will make adjustments for comfortability and change any settings so it performs optimally to the user’s specifications.
How do they assess you?
A HIS will make an assessment testing for the level of hearing loss in the first instance. This will then be taken into consideration alongside other preferences that a user can indicate might be needed. The HIS will listen closely and consult with the person with hearing loss to ensure that they are recommending hearing aids that suit their aesthetic preferences and lifestyle. Some factors that a HIS will consider before a recommendation include:
- The level of hearing loss in the patient: Hearing loss can range from very mild loss in one ear, to severe loss in both ears. A hearing aid will not help if there is no hearing capability left as they primarily work through amplification.
- The lifestyle of the patient: If a patient works in a busy location with lots of noise interference like a factory or busy restaurant then discreet directional microphones may be useful. They will help the wearer pick up on conversation directed towards them and help funnel out distracting noise.
- The design preferences of a patient: There are many different styles of hearing aids. Sometimes a patient may be able to choose from a range of options, and they may have a preference due to how a hearing aid looks.
- The functions a patient requires: Hearing aids are very advanced now and come with a range of features. Sometimes hearing aids can connect directly to Wi-Fi, allowing you to enjoy entertainment at a comfortable volume.
The HIS will always work in consultation with the patient and make recommendations based on their preferences and lifestyle.
What hearing aids will they recommend?
Hearing aid technology is always advancing, and while many may remember older relatives with big clunky looking machines, the options available nowadays are much more advanced and discreetly designed. There is a huge variety of hearing aids available nowadays, and an experienced HIS will be able to advise on their functions and performance ability. Three common types of hearing aids include:
- Behind the ear (BTE) is the most frequently used hearing aid. It is a small device typically made from plastic. A small plastic tube runs from your ear to the device, which sits behind your ear.
- In the ear (ITE) are devices that sit inside the ear and fill the area of the ear outside your canal. They are discreet as they can only be seen when looking at someone in profile.
- In the canal (ITC) are very small and discreet, they sit inside the canal and are not easily noticeable by anyone else. They are most typically used for wearers with mild hearing loss.
Hearing instrument specialists are also well-versed in the care and maintenance of hearing technology. They can provide professional cleanings for your devices, as well as help you assess any damage you’ve noticed. For minor repairs, your HIS can likely fix the hearing aid in their office. For more severe problems, they can work as a liaison with the hearing aid manufacturer to have your device repaired and sent back.
If you live in Madison County and could benefit from seeing a Hearing Instrument Specialist, then contact Better Hearing of Madison County at (315) 363-7869. You will be able to speak to a caring team of specialists who will be happy to advise.