Details for To Your Health 2.12.19

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Divergent Views in
Hearing Health Care 2019
amplification devices
and this consumer
decision model did not
In August of 2017 the
face of hearing health care work for people who
actually had significant
changed with the passage
hearing losses (see http://
of the Over-the-Counter
Hearing Aid Law, allowing www.hearingreview.
consumers to self-diagnose com/2018/12/evaluatingand self-treat their hearing select-personal-soundamplifiers-consumerloss.
decision-model-otcThe events leading
amplification/ and http://
up to this change were
www.hearingreview.
spearheaded by two
com/2018/10/coupler-realdistinct groups. One
ear-performance-psapsgroup was from Johns
hearing-aids/).
Hopkins Medical
University; the other from
It is instructive to see
Indiana University.
how such divergent
views on application of
Representatives from
best scientific medical
both facilities presented
procedures came about.
data suggesting that
A revealing answer came
self-treatment and selffrom a recent Letter to
diagnosis of hearing
The Editor in The Hearing
problems worked nearly
Review regarding our
as well as services
article showing neither
provided by medical
the selected amplification
personnel utilizing
devices or consumer
best scientific practices
decision model worked
(see https://pubs.asha.
well for people with
org/doi/10.1044/2017_
significant hearing loss (see
AJA-16-0111 and
http://www.hearingreview.
https://jamanetwork.
com/2019/01/letterscom/journals/jama/
hearing-loss-severity-otcfullarticle/2635618).
hearing-aids-larry-humesOur research
comments-article-leavittgroup composed of
bentler-flexer/).
representatives from
In the above letter, the
Corvallis Hearing Center,
author notes that most
University of Iowa and
of his patients who used
University of Akron in
this consumer decision
conjunction with data
model of hearing aid
from researchers at
selection did in fact have
Washington University
borderline normal hearing.
Medical School showed
these recommended
He continues, however,
By Dr. Ron Leavitt, Audiologist
Corvallis Hearing Center

that it is the patient’s
perceived need
for amplification
that is the gold
standard when
determining need
for amplification.
He notes that best
science medical
procedure is
appropriate for 20%
of hearing-impaired
people but not for
the 80% who could
use his consumer
decision model.
In his letter the
author notes that the
experienced hearing
aid users in our study
were different than the
new hearing aid users
used in his. Apparently
experienced hearing aid
users are less tolerant of
insufficient hearing aid
programming.

Dr. Ron Leavitt

All of the above
statements made in this
letter lend themselves
to an interesting series
of studies that will be
forthcoming from our
clinic.

We do not accept the
contention that patient
self-report is the gold
standard for determining
need for amplification.
Our study of 67 new
hearing aid users who
rated their hearing loss
against objective hearing
loss data obtained in
our clinic showed no
relationship between
patient self-report of
hearing loss and objective
data measuring that
hearing loss.

In the interim, we
will continue to apply
best scientific medical
procedures in the
programming of hearing
aids and recommendations
for amplification
regardless of the patient’s
degree of hearing loss
or previous hearing aid
experience.

Those interested in more
information on this topic
are invited to the monthly
Better Hearing meetings at
Corvallis Good Samaritan
Hospital, Conference
Room B on the second
Thursday of every month
from 3:30 to 5 PM. The
public is invited. Free
refreshments are served.

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