SoundPoint is quite honestly an answer to my dream for you…
Truth is that over the past 35 years, I have desperately wished (and dared hope for) the day when hearing aids could be adjusted in part by you. As an audiologist, I realized long ago that the fine tuning of hearing aids is a combination of science and art. The science or objective portion involves setting the sound to your hearing loss thresholds and the art or subjective segment involves adjusting to make the sound clear, natural and “just right” to your ears.
That’s where the “Make your sound finger perfect” part comes in…
So imagine that you have already had the audiologist or clinician spend considerable time setting the sound, but you are still missing some conversation or the sound quality is a little off and hard for you to describe exactly how. Here is where SoundPoint dove tails in beautifully. At this point, you just sit comfortably in front of the computer and move your finger around the screen as the sound adjusts in real time. Many people wonder if it’s hard to do. I assure them it is not only very easy, but it is fun. Simply listen to the conversation and tap you finger when the sound seems better. You can even pick several possibilities and then compare them all before selecting your favorite.
But what are the results for people using SoundPoint?
Let me answer that in two ways. First of all, field trials showed that 45% of the hearing aid users felt the sound was better using the cliniician combined with their SoundPoint settings. In my experience about 60-70% of people have preferred the end result they reached after completing SoundPoint. Part of the beauty of this is that you have a chance to find out if the clinician-set sound was appropriate or if your extra adjustments make a real difference.
Take the captain’s seat…
So whether you simply want to get more information about having your hearing tested, investigate if hearing aids are right for you, or possibly want to try out SoundPoint – The process should be interactive with you playing a crucial role.
Want to know more? Two easy choices.
Don’t take my word for it. Instead please listen to the words of a special Ashland hearing aid user…
“Barika Audiology is a well run organization. I’m impressed with Barb’s efficiency from start to finish. Everything is explained in a clear and easily understandable way. She treated me as an individual patient and not “just one more person”. How do you explain sound, or what you do or do not hear? Barb has a natural gift of understanding and the patience of a saint.
When I received my first hearing aid from Barb, more than 15 years ago, tears streaked down my face – I was hearing sounds I hadn’t heard in years. When I looked at Barb, she was crying too. That’s because she was on my hearing journey right along side me.
It can be difficult to explain what you hear, but with the power of the computer Barb gave me the controller and I was able to fine tune my hearing aid. Now I forget I’m wearing it and often times go to bed forgetting to take if off. It has simply become a part of me.”
Barb, do you know if SoundPoint is right for me?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I have been testing and diagnosing hearing since 1978. I’ve worked in both private practice and clinical settings. Have been around the block more times than I care to admit, and can tell you with certainty that “one size fits all” solutions don’t exist. A fact of life you and your audiologist must always keep in mind. What worked for someone with a hearing loss “exactly” like yours, or what worked for your friend who lives down the block, does not mean the same solution will be right for you. The key to success is working together to find what works best for your needs and unique perceptions.
So is SoundPoint right for you? The answer is, it depends. Everybody has a psychoacoustic reaction – how you perceive a sound and what is means to you. Your psychoacoustic signature is as unique as your fingerprint, iris, and DNA. With the advent of digital hearing aids using advanced algorithms to shape sound, psychoacoustic research has taken a more prominent role. We don’t understand why two people with seemingly identical audiometric results have such different reactions, despite having the same parameters set in their hearing aids.
SoundPoint simply acknowledges that you are the best judge of what sounds right to you. What your psychoacoustic preference is. Here’s how SoundPoint works (I’ll describe the iPad version because it is the most intuitive to use, but a monitor and mouse can be used as well).
You will start with your finger pressed to the middle of the screen. While a sound file is played, simply drag your finger in a roughly circular pattern around the starting point. Each quadrant of the screen that you slide your finger through will cause rapid-fire changes to the algorithms effecting the quality of the sounds you hear.
If you like what you hear, tap your finger on the screen, then continue moving it around as you listen. After a short period of time a pattern will appear. There will be more taps in one area than any other.
The grouping of taps is your preferred “listening style”. The audiologist then locks those settings to your hearing aid. If you later change your mind, simply do the process again. It take only a few seconds to set up and use.
If you want to explore further, you can download an article written by two Starkey PhD audiologists who describe and analyze a study they did using SoundPoint (with, as I recall, only 29 patients). The pdf is available on a site for Starkey Professionals, but nothing will stop you from accessing the paper, so don’t fret about the for-professional’s-only part (no registration required).
I hope I have piqued your curiosity. SoundPoint is a nice tool, but what is most important overall is not which tool or product to use, but how well you are connecting with your family, friends, and people from all over the world.