Dr. Barbra Timmer shares what hearing care professionals who are succeeding with remote microphone technology are doing right.
When used in conjunction with hearing aids and cochlear implants, remote microphone technology can support individuals with hearing loss by improving communication in complex listening situations.
In fact, consideration of this technology for those with severe and profound hearing loss is regarded as best practice.1
Research, past and present
Research studies in the past have investigated the benefits of remote microphone technology in terms of improved speech recognition and user satisfaction in clinical and laboratory settings.
However there has been little research into investigating the real-world experiences of remote microphone technology users and the perceptions of hearing care professionals (HCPs) who recommend these devices.
A recent study2 at The University of Queensland, Australia, interviewed adults with hearing loss, family and friends of adults with hearing loss, and HCPs who all used or recommended remote microphone systems (RMS).
The HCPs shared a number of interesting perspectives with the research team and we identified what HCPs who are succeeding with remote microphone technology are doing right.
Here are the top 3 tips for the successful fitting of RMS
Tip #1: Identify hearing needs early in the process
- HCPs who saw the greatest benefit from RMS for their clients were able to identify when hearing aids or cochlear implants would not be able to meet specific hearing needs and presented the various RMS options early in the hearing rehabilitation process.
- As well as their needs suggesting they would benefit from RMS, candidates should feel confident to ask others to wear the remote microphone and be the sort of person who is not hesitant in trying new technology.
Tip #2: Set clear goals and expectations
- Success with RMS is improved when HCPs set clear expectations with their clients around the benefits and use of the system.
- RMS can bring significant benefit in a wide range of different listening situations, if used appropriately.
- While some users learn about the technology from a ‘trial and error’ approach, experienced HCPs should guide their clients to get the most from using RMS. This guidance should include identifying the listening situations important for their clients and demonstrating how to optimally use the devices dependent upon the situation.
- HCPs who successfully helped their clients to use RMS were also able to help them to troubleshoot when the system was not working as expected.
Tip #3: With training and support, benefits can extend beyond improved speech recognition
- HCPs reported that their clients found a RMS reduced listening fatigue, improved confidence, and increased the feeling of being included as well as the conventional benefits of improved speech clarity and understanding.
- Family and friends of RMS users also reported less frustration when communicating with their loved one with hearing loss.
- Ongoing training and support, both for the HCPs as well as their clients, is required to achieve optimal benefits from these systems.
- RMS can have a range of functionalities and, with this, a degree of complexity in their use. HCPs indicated that they appreciated regular training about remote microphone technologies to ensure they were able to support their clients to reach their hearing goals.
In all, with the right experience, appropriate expectations and regular training, HCPs can achieve great success when providing RMS and have a positive impact on the well-being and quality of life of their clients and family members.
To learn more on the clinical management for those with severe and profound hearing loss, we recommend you read the full text of the recent publication available through Open Access in Seminars in Hearing, Guidelines for Best Practice in the Audiological Management of Adults with Severe and Profound Hearing Loss.
Podcast series to help you in your practice
The podcast, ‘The Audiologist’ launched a series based on content in the severe and profound guidelines. It delivers informative interviews with the experts who created them. Find the podcast series here.
To learn about Roger™ remote microphone systems, we invite you to our product pages.
- Turton, L., Souza, P., Thibodeau, L., Hickson, L., Gifford, R., Bird, J., Stropahl, M., Gailey, L., Fulton, B., Scarinci, N., Ekberg, K.. & Timmer, B. (2020). Guidelines for best practice in the audiological management of adults with severe and profound hearing loss. Semin Hear; 41(3):141-246.
- Scarinci, N., Nickbakht, M., Timmer, B. H. B., Ekberg, K., Cheng, B., & Hickson, L. (in preparation). A qualitative investigation of clients, significant others, and clinicians’ experiences of using wireless microphone systems.
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