Why HearBright Hearing Aids Work: Reason #1: Field Testing
By Nobuko Ito, Au.D., Audiologist
HearBright, an Audiology Corporation
Why is Field Testing Important?
At HearBright, we know that hearing aids have to work in all kinds of environments, not just in research labs. We have to wear them in noisy places, humid or dusty places, and for all hours of the day. The variety of elements is so wide that a manufacturer cannot cover all of the possibilities. That’s why we first receive a demonstration pair from the manufacturer, and personally wear them for two weeks, just to experience for ourselves the reliability and performance of each model. At HearBright, we don’t release the model to our own patients until our own field testing is done. This goes for all of the different manufacturers we work with.
What Does It Mean For Me?
Quality assurance is very important at HearBright. Field-testing reduces the “surprises” in the performance of new products just released to market by the manufacturer. If we discover any issues with performance of the new hearing aid model, we work with the manufacturer until the issue is resolved. This means that the patient is not subject to anything less than excellent quality hearing aids. Our patient satisfaction is very high and is important to us.
What is done during Field Testing?
Before the model of hearing aid is made available in our clinics, it must pass all performance tests. We wear the sample pair all day for two weeks, and check for a clean, consistent sound presentation and audibility of the speaker’s voice in quiet rooms, noisy rooms, and reverberant rooms, as well as in windy places and in other dynamic environments like inside of a car with the windows open, on a golf course, and in classrooms.
Some hearing aid models have Bluetooth capability. For those models with this feature, the performance is checked with the connected devices and repeated turning on/turning off as well as switching from one connected device to another paired device. The hearing aid should perform consistently and with no interference. Bluetooth connectivity in any device comes with certain occurrences which require re-pairing between devices. These occurrences should not be more than is normal.
Rechargeable Devices and Accessories
This feature has to be checked with daily recharging. We check that the devices charge consistently and “keep” the charge, and that the recharging station is easy to use. We even purposefully make common user errors while recharging, to see how the system reacts. Some examples of user error include improper insertion into the docking station, or skipping recharging for a night.
Performance during Computer Programming
Behind the scenes, a lot depends on the reliability of the programming of the devices in the clinic. We purposefully program and reprogram the devices at our computers, looking for reliability and consistency, and ease of use. If the programming is not reliable, the resulting sound quality in the device can be compromised.
At HearBright, we have experience with the physical fit of all hearing aid manufacturers. Each manufacturer uses different shapes, designs, and materials in the hearing aid parts. The skin of the ear canal can be very sensitive to materials which come in contact with it. We check for itchiness or discomfort with prolonged use of the hearing aid, and also issues with how the device “moves” with the ear while we yawn, chew, and talk. We inspect how the wire of the receiver-in-the-canal design stays in place over time. Most of all, different manufacturers offer different shapes of the receiver, and this can directly affect how the hearing aid fits in the ear, especially for individuals with very small ear canals.
Make an appointment at HearBright for consultation and demonstration of hearing aids. Our expertise is in providing you with individual attention, and carefully selecting the model that is best for you!