Chapter 15: Programming and Troubleshooting Hearing Instruments

Most of your online training in this section, especially in the troubleshooting area, is abstract until you spend your lab at the academy. It will all come together rapidly when you have samples of aids to troubleshoot.

As you may notice from your texts and supplemental texts and resources, there is a substantial body of information on earmold frequency response factors, tubing effect for BTE’s, and troubleshooting methods and tips. During the analog age, the dispenser was challenged to learn every single element in order to even begin to create and manage hearing instruments which maybe, just maybe performed in the intended manner. Today’s hearing instruments are vastly different, as are many of the troubleshooting methods.

Our current focus is on digital hearing instruments, despite the fact that there are still more analog instruments than digitals worn today. Yet, that is changing rapidly. So, you may wonder whether and why you still need to learn all of the tips and modification techniques for analog based instruments. The reason is that when you open your clinic, you will be asked to troubleshoot analog instruments that new patients probably do not want to replace.

Unfortunately, state licensing exams still focus more on analog hearing instruments than they do on digitals. You will learn very quickly during your visit to Texas that programming and troubleshooting acoustical issues with digital hearing aids has taken most of the seat-of-the-pants tips and tricks out of the process. Indeed, thankfully, most acoustic troubleshooting is software driven and amounts to reading the software and clicking your mouse, or deciding among the two or three options for each circumstance.

Yet, each of the main troubleshooting areas will be present on the exam. Having looked through your text, you will undoubtedly be daunted to a degree by the frequency response variety of BTE earmolds. Again, with the advent of real ear/PMT measurements, you no longer have to take the steps which have been taken for the last 40 years to attempt to reach the frequency modification targets. You can take your silver bullet mouse and get right on the target, then verify with real ear.

Yours will be the first generation of class-taught students to experience this approach. So, make sure to absorb as much of the troubleshooting tips and tricks as possible to be ready for your practical training!