Each month Dr. Oden writes a column for the Rowan County Senior Savvy magazine. You can read the full column here.

I have been working with hearing aids and hearing technology for over 30 years.  After completing my Master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Denver, I worked for a major hearing aid manufacturer in Dallas, Texas for 4 years.  Understanding what is involved in the ordering, building and shipping process of a hearing aid has provided me with knowledge most hearing healthcare providers do not have.   As a result, I am very particular with whom I choose to purchase from.  Our supplier must provide us with an excellent product and the support to provide exceptional service to our patients at the time of fitting and for the years to follow.

I have been working with ReSound since the early 1990s. Their manufacturing facility is in Minnesota, while their research and development facilities are located in Chicago and Denmark.  I have visited both US locations in the recent past. Having worked in manufacturing, I found their research and development facility amazing. I now have a better understanding of the amount of people and years of work that goes into releasing a new product.

But what happens between the time of in-house product development and release of new technology to the consumer?  We now know. Early this year, we were invited to participate in the beta trial of Resound LiNX 3D.  Company-wide, five sales representatives were chosen to select one audiologist to participate in the study. Our representative David J. was chosen and he chose us.   What an honor to be one of five in the US to provide input to the next generation of technology advancements.

As part of the beta trial, we chose five current hearing technology wearers, who were iPhone users, to participate.  Our participants’ current hearing aids ranged from 1 year old technology to 5 year old technology.  Each person was able to wear the new “trial” devices for 1 month.  The devices were paired to their iPhones allowing them to rate the use of the new app.   At the end of the trial, each participant had to return the devices and delete the app from their phones.  Each participant and I completed a questionnaire which was reviewed by the developers as to the sound quality, comfort, ease of use and the iPhone connectivity.  To date, two of our participants have placed orders for the new technology and one is waiting until the summer to upgrade.

Interesting to note, our 1 year old technology wearer was the only one who did not notice an appreciable improvement in hearing ability, but did find the app to be more user friendly.  Our 3-5 year old technology wearer did find a significant improvement in hearing ability, especially in the presence of background noise. A special thanks to Mike, Steve, Ralph, Fran and Lou for their participation.

Why ReSound for us? ReSound was the first company to develop a computer programmable device.  They were also the first to develop and open ear mini behind the ear hearing enhancer, which was the forefront to the most popular style we are currently fitting today.  There were times when they were not building a good quality, product and being the picky one I am, I ordered from other suppliers.  Not being tied to any one manufacturer or part of a franchise organization, we can order from the best of the best.  For the last several years I have found them to be that company.

Remember that hearing technology is only part of the hearing rehabilitation process.  You have to have a thorough diagnostic evaluation. If hearing technology is warranted, the devices have to be properly programmed, and you have to know how to use them.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Jane or myself, give Beth a call at 704-633-0023.  We look forward to seeing you soon.