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Beltones Virtual Fitting Environment: Computers Improve Hearing Aid Performance

Its called Beltone AVE (pronounced avenue), which stands for Audio Verification Environment. Sounds very high tech, with lots of science behind it, but its simply using computer technology to improve hearing quality and hearing comfort for Beltone consumers. Heres how it works.

Whats a Virtual Audiological Environment?
In the past, hearing device users provided their hearing care professionals subjective information on two critical aspects of hearing aid use: quality of sound and comfort of sound, i.e., does the device produce a natural hearing experience? The consumer would react with his or her subjective assessment of how comfortable the hearing aid sounded and how much hearing was improved.

Is that better or worse? Better

Better or worse? A little better, I think, but its just not quite right.

These are subjective comments opinions of the consumer. And each consumer is different, with different opinions, expectations and abilities to communicate effectively with the hearing professional. The result?

Problems. Problems including refittings, resettings, never-ending visits to the audiologist, additional expense and, in the end, you, the consumer, might end up with a hearing device that provided hearing comfort and the best possible, most natural sound quality you could get. But, maybe not. The critical factors of sound comfort and sound quality werent measurable as effectively as might be expected, even by the most experienced hearing professional, because test subjects werent hearing familiar sounds from everyday life. Instead, the factors of hearing comfort and quality were determined primarily by trial and error better or worse.

However, this is the computer age and computers have helped us all become more productive, more accurate, faster in many of our activities and, in general, our computers have made life simpler and better by delivering solutions to everyday problems. Now, computer technology has become part of the hearing health process through the use of a high quality, virtual sound environment that employs computers to take much of the guesswork out of determining hearing aid functionality and comfort.

Let the computer figure it out.

The Benefits to You of an Audio Verification Environment
If you already use a hearing device, youre probably familiar with some of the common consumer complaints associated with hearing aid use, and while digital technology and continued research within the hearing health industry have improved the quality of hearing aids, the process of finding the right gear for your ear hasnt changed much since the 19th century horse and buggy technology.

Audiologists and other health care providers had to rely on subjective patient input to determine the right product and the right settings a hit-or-miss approach that could often be frustrating to consumers who werent hearing any better. How many hearing devices are stashed away in drawers somewhere because it just never felt right?

Thats where a virtual sound environment comes into play. It uses computer software to assess the individual needs of each hearing aid wearer, providing higher levels of sound quality, increased hearing comfort and better, more accurate control of the entire fitting process end to end. No more guesswork. No more try this. Now, hearing needs can be measured systematically to deliver higher levels of hearing quality much faster. No more endless fittings or settings adjustments. All thanks to the latest collaboration between hearing and computer sciences.

In a recent interview, exclusive to HealthyHearing.com, Beltones Ken LaFerle, Director of Educational Services, put it this way. In an audio verification environment, test subjects are exposed to familiar sounds from their own life experience. These sounds can be manipulated during testing by the audiologist to produce a multi-dimensional matrix specific to the hearing needs of each consumer.

In a virtual sound environment, you control the action. You interact with sounds produced by a Dolby Surround Sound speaker system that delivers the purest quality sound available. And because youre the one controlling the activities, youre going to end up with the right hearing device set to your individual hearing needs based on what you tell the computer. This, says Mr. LaFerle, is a giant leap forward in [hearing] testing technology.

Welcome to the Age of Computerized Audiology
As consumers, our expectations for the items we purchase have gone up over the decades. We expect better cars, TVs, electronics, telephones we expect better because were used to better. Now, those expectations can be met in the realm of hearing health through the use of computerized hearing testing.

Beltones Ken LaFerle, explained that the companys AVE employs a cutting edge combination of speakers, computers and the latest equipment used to test hearing. Put them all together and youve got a real-world, high tech solution for fitting the right equipment to the right consumer.

Sounds logical because the system employs everyday sights and sounds produced through the use of the latest in multi-media technology. So, as your hearing is being tested, you hear sounds from your life conversations in a crowded restaurant, the organic sounds of nature, the sound qualities found in the shopping mall or a sidewalk caf, a busy office or a movie theater.

Mr. LaFerle continued, Instead of simply listening to machine-generated tones at different frequencies, Beltones AVE brings the world to you to ensure greater sound quality and much improved sound comfort. When you visit an audiologists fitting room, youve got everything in one place to get it right, cutting down significantly on the number of visits our consumers have to make to the hearing health professional.

The right measurements for a more natural, less-processed hearing experience, specific device settings to suit your individual hearing needs, no hassles with other-worldly tones and beeps, and fewer repeat visits to your hearing specialist thats what the modern virtual fitting environment, like Beltones AVE, deliver.

Go once. Interact with the virtual real world delivered via a high-end, Dolby equipped sound system, utilize the AVE Wizard to measure comfort and quality levels and youre outta there. A fine tuning visit or two may be required for some users, but not the never-ending trips to the audiologist and, definitely no more trial and error. You save time, money and eliminate hearing hassles that you just dont need in the high tech age of computerized audiology.

Beltone, and other makers of quality hearing devices, are turning more and more to patient-focused fitting systems to eliminate guesswork and provide the highest quality listening experience.

The ultimate objectives, according to Beltones Director of Educational Services, are quite straightforward. Better hearing comfort, higher levels of hearing quality and a lot fewer trips to the audiologist. Also, when our consumers do visit their hearing professionals, theyre going to spend less time per visit.

Faster, better, fewer hassles and a higher level of hearing quality.

Sounds like a winning combination.

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