Live speech mapping is a way of fitting a hearing aid to the patient’s specific hearing needs
If you, or a loved one, has been told that you need hearing aids, it is important that you consider the technology of live speech mapping. Since it is a new technology, there are a lot of questions that patients may have about both the process and accuracy.
This method offers a lot of advantages over some of the older hearing aid fitting processes.
What Exactly Is Live Speech Mapping?
In the past, being fitted for a hearing aid could be a lengthy process. It involved performing a series of hearing tests that were designed to determine what ranges of sounds the patient could hear. In addition to being a multiple test process, these tests required scoring, which meant additional time, and perhaps even retaking certain tests if the results were inconsistent. Now, with live speech mapping, this process is instantaneous. As the test is performed, the results are recorded, and the fitting can occur based on these results.
How Does Live Speech Mapping Work?
For a live speech mapping session, the audiologist might recommend that the patient bring a loved one with them. This person will aid throughout the test by speaking to the patient. During the session, small probes that contain microphones will be inserted into the ear canal. These probes are technologically advanced and account for the size and shape of the canal, depth of insertion, and various resonance factors. After the probes are in place, a second person will speak cued words to the patient to test a spectrum of frequencies and sounds that the patient may have trouble with.
As the patient listens, the probe devices will analyze what the patient is hearing rather than what is being said. The devices will display that information to the audiologist so that they can see which sounds are problem sounds for the patient and adjust their hearing aid needs accordingly. The patient will also have a display screen available to them that will allow them to see adjustments in live time. After the range of sounds has been tested, the patient will receive the fitted hearing aids.
What Are The Advantages?
One of the advantages of live speech mapping is the time involved. This process doesn’t require a series of tests. Additionally, the experience is live so there is no scoring, re-testing, re-scoring, or waiting involved. Patients who utilize this method of fitting typically don’t have to come back in for adjustments, which saves both time and money.
Live speech mapping is an extremely accurate process. Previous tests utilized series of clicks or other automated sounds and always tested the same series for every patients. This new process is much more personalized in that the patient is reacting to a live human voice. The probes themselves provide a great deal of accuracy because of all of the patient-specific features that they are able to account for.