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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Hearing instrument donation to benefit students, patients

The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at UALR and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will soon receive a new hearing instrument fitting system critical to achieving long-term benefits and satisfaction for hearing instrument wearers.

The Verifit® Real Ear system will be installed May 3 at the audiology and speech pathology department located on the UALR campus.

The system, manufactured by Audioscan®, is considered the “gold-standard” for fitting hearing instruments. It is valued at approximately $12,500. Audioscan, founded in 1989, is the number one manufacturer of hearing instrument fitting systems.

“In developing our new donation program, we had two criteria to satisfy,” said David Cole, Audioscan marketing and sales representative.

“First, the program had to benefit a nonprofit/educational entity that otherwise may not have the funds available to purchase. Second, the program had to benefit an outstanding Audioscan distributor.”

“Dave Stewart (the regional manager for distributors Gordon N. Stowe & Associates Inc.) was given the opportunity to carefully select a deserving recipient within his large territory. He selected the joint program at UALR and UAMS, and we are delighted that he did,” said Cole.

Verifit® offers hearing health care professionals a way to provide complete control of the fitting process and the outcome. The system provides fewer patient returns and higher patient satisfaction, said Cole.

Using the system, UALR-UAMS audiologists will be able to test and verify almost any hearing instrument in the world. The donated equipment offers full Speechmap® capabilities as well as simultaneous direction tests, noise reduction, feedback suppression, and frequency lowering tests.

“The Verifit Real Ear system allows us to provide valuable information to our clients about the performance of their hearing instruments,” said Dr. Nannette Nicholson, director of audiology in the joint UALR-UAMS program.

“One of the most important aspects of this donation is that it will allow us to do a better job of student training in the area of verification and validation of hearing aid fittings,” she said.

Nicholson added that if an individual is not receiving the full benefit from their hearing aids, the speechmap tool helps determine amplification adjustments that may optimize or improve the fitting.

Speechmap® is a visual representation of a patient’s hearing loss, which facilitates their comprehension of their own auditory area and the limitations imposed by their hearing loss.

“We are honored to be chosen as the recipient of this donation,” Nicholson said.

According to Consumer Reports, 66 percent of hearing aids are fit incorrectly. Without real ear measurement, the fitter cannot know whether speech is being rendered audible.

Audioscan’s real ear measurement equipment is designed to help health care provider’s address this problem. Audioscan officials say products such as Verifit measure the output of the hearing aid at the eardrum using speech as the test stimulus. This ensures that the hearing aid is adjusted correctly and is working as advertised.

The loss of hearing often occurs over many years. The brain rewires itself due to lack of auditory stimulus. At this point, the patient is no longer a good judge of how much amplification is required.

Many hearing aid wearers turn down their hearing aids so much that little or no benefit is provided. It is critical that the hearing healthcare professional use objective measures to guide the patient through the rehabilitative process to maximize the many benefits of today’s advanced hearing aids.

For more information on the product, visit www.audioscan.com.