Ear Technology Corp, Johnson City, Tenn, debuts its digital Clik Hearing Aid, which hearing care professionals can fit and program without cables or computers.
Daniel R. Schumaier, PhD, the inventor of Clik and a dispensing audiologist, devised Clik because of his frustration with computer systems that seemed to crash at inconvenient times.
“When your computer’s down, you’re out of business. You can’t fit hearing aids,” said Schumaier. While the industry has shifted to digital processing for good reasons such as better sound quality and more programming options, the downside is that it has increased dependence on specialized computer software and interfaces such as NOAH and Hi-Pro boxes, as well as software that’s proprietary to each brand, says the company.
“Every audiologist I talk to has the same issues, not to mention the numerous cables and connectors we have to sort through just to hook up the hearing aids to the computer," said Schumaier. "The majority of patients we see have a mild to moderate hearing loss, but our methods today make this type of fitting more complicated than it needs to be.”
Today’s cell phone has more processing power than a room full of computers did 20 years ago. Hearing aids are the same—microcomputers. The company said Clik helps change the way professionals interface with the hearing aid, by taking computers, software, and cables off of the desktop and loading them onto a mini-BTE processor.
More specifically, a variety of acoustic algorithms are loaded onto the chip in Clik’s processor. Programs are accessed and chosen by clicking through sound-coded options using a selector button on the BTE processor.
Every Clik includes a digital volume control, directional microphones, telecoil, adaptive feedback cancellation, and layered noise reduction technology. The company said that because of its design, plus savings in support for externals, it can deliver premium technology at a nonpremium price.
Since Clik improves the efficiency of mild to moderate loss fittings, the professional has more time for patient counseling and for addressing more challenging hearing conditions, said the company. "You’ll get to know your patients, not just their audiograms,” adds Schumaier.
For patients who are capable of and interested in a more hands-on approach, providers can instruct them how to make selections away from the office, in their own listening environments. “This can be especially helpful because my idea of a noisy environment may be entirely different from your idea of a noisy environment. With Clik, the patient can decide what sounds best,”said Schumaier.
An advanced programming mode, for functions such as changing the maximum power output, deactivating features, resetting the instrument, etc, is available only to the provider.
Clik is not an over-the-counter, Internet, or mail-order hearing aid. It is available only through licensed hearing care professionals, with fitting and sales accomplished through face-to-face consultation between end-users and providers.
[Source: Ear Technology]