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Another Hearing Care Company?

I was asked by some marketing type person about what my 'USP' is, and had to think for a while! Apart from the special interest in tinnitus, I would say that my unique selling point is 'I make sure people can hear at each possible frequency'. You might think that comes as standard, but believe me, it doesn't!

First you have to know what a frequency is. That's easy, different frequencies are like different individual notes in music. In sound, it's how fast the air molecules are vibrating in their wave formation, how many times per second they are moving back and forth. The faster they go, the higher the frequency. They are measured in Hertz (Hz) or kHz and the hearing test covers the key frequencies in human speech.

Your audiogram shows the quietest sound you can detect at each frequency. Red is right and blue is left. So on mine below, it shows that I can detect incredibly quiet sounds at low frequencies like 250Hz. As you go higher in frequency, I have to have sounds made louder before I can detect them. And after 2kHz there's no ability to hear at all.

All this happens slowly over time, and my hearing is what a normal 90 year old's audiogram looks like. At each stage, we can use frequency lowering to improve someone's ability to detect sound (another day for that!). We also need to ensure that the feedback managment system of a hearing aid is not reducing the volume at any given frequency too much, because the person won't be able to hear if it does.

Finding out if you can get someone to hear sound at each frequency band sometimes requires fine tuning, dome or earmould trial/error measurement, the introduction and movement of frequency lowering over time, more fine tuning/testing.

As people do not know what hearing is supposed to be like, they do not know if you have done your best work. So if the feedback management system has lopped off half of their 4kHz volume, which will have a knock on effect of just making it a bit more difficult to hear in noise, or catch what's on the TV, they may never know. They might assume it's as good as it gets. And I have seen a lot of people, in the NHS, and the companies where I work, who can get an improvement with a tweak, a new dome, a new fine tune, a new examination etc. Some are wearing hearing aids that are no longer powerful enough. Some need a new test. And some need an audiologist who has more time, and a bit of dedication to making sure they have done their best work for each customer every time.

Unfortunately, private companies reward sales but not follow up care. Once you have bought hearing aids there is no benefit to spending 45 minutes trying out different things to see if you can improve someone's 4-6k region (or anything else you might think of). Certainly you would not find the NHS or a chain saying 'let's try it like this for a week and I'll come out again if you want me to put it back'.

But to me (because I was a customer for a lot longer than I have been an audiologist), and possibly for you, that improvement might mean another 2 years of hearing birdsong, the reversing parking warning in the car, or catching your new partner's unfamiliar speech on your first date and not making an ass of yourself.

I tell people what I am thinking of doing and ask them if they want to try X, Y and Z to see if we can improve or perfect things. And we also go off how a customer likes the sound, not just the graphs.

So I do take the time, and it is unique, and this company is indeed a touch more expensive because of it. But I can guarantee my customer's will hear the best they possibly can for as long as they possibly can.

I absolutely welcome difficult customers and customers who have been disappointed elsewhere. They are my favourites, the most rewarding. Do get in touch if you want to know more about whether I can help.

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