UNIQUE MEDICAL DEVICE HELPS NEW HEARING AID & AUDIOLOGY CLINIC IMPROVE HEARING AID PERFORMANCE, INCREASE PATIENT SATISFACTION
Now Hear This® Inc. uses FDA Approved ACAM® System to Improve Hearing Aid Sound Quality. Raleigh, NC (February 2012 Press Release)
Audiologists at Now Hear This®, are the first in the US to use a device that greatly improves the performance of all hearing aids, an important wide-spread need of 38 million people in the US. In the past, audiologists could only guess at how to set hearing aids. Now with this new German-engineered device, the ACAM-5®, audiologists can understand all the dynamics of a person’s hearing and improve it with a more finely-tuned hearing aid. This will have positive implications for helping to reduce the risk of serious health issues that affect the hearing impaired.
How ACAM 5® Technology Helps Audiologist & Patients
Originally developed as a product sold only to hearing researchers and manufacturers, the ACAM 5® is being noted as a valuable tool for audiology practices as well. That is because it includes a number of advanced testing tools and technologies all in one system. “We have found that a surprisingly large segment of the population believe hearing aids don’t perform well and resist getting them because of the expense and reputation for never seeming to work right said Dr. Robert Keefer, CEO of Acousticon - USA. “This is important to understand because resistance to treating hearing issues as soon as possible may have implications for other critical health issues.” Comprehensive clinical studies at Johns Hopkins showed that patients with hearing loss have up to 5 times the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s) as well as falls with broken bones and clinical depression.
The revolutionary technologies in the ACAM® system are helping the audiologist of Now Hear This® identify the severity of the hearing loss, measure how hearing aids can compensate for the loss and fit the hearing aids in a unique and more effective way. The ACAM® accurately pinpoints the exact responses of each individual patient to different volume levels and pitches. This allows the audiologists to better understand how each patient’s brain perceives loudness across the entire range of hearing. If this is not accounted for, the hearing aid can seem “too loud” or “too soft” and the patient will not wear the hearing aids.
In 2011, the ACAM 5® received FDA approval and was introduced to the US market under the Acousticon name. Acousticon then teamed up with Now Hear This® to treat hearing loss in patients using the ACAM 5®. Now Hear This® is the first and only practice in the US to currently use the device with patients.
The clinic immediately found that many who contacted them already had hearing aids, and hoped that Now Hear This® and its device could solve their problems. Not only did they experience better results, but word has quickly spread. Some patients have traveled from as far as 2,000 miles to utilize this advanced technology. “We have found that one reason so many are unhappy with hearing aids is because a test called Real Ear Measurement (included in the ACAM® system) has not been performed on most patients. Most providers haven’t had access to the technologies that the ACAM® system provides,” said Keefer. “A large number of patients are reaching out to Now Hear This® because they’re trying to find a solution. The ACAM® offers that solution.”
Medical Needs Addressed by the ACAM-5®
Now Hear This® and Acousticon have entered a national health care market where there is a lot of long-standing skepticism about hearing aids and the hearing profession. A main reason for the skepticism is based on a lack of proper fitting techniques performed by hearing aid providers across the country. Articles in Consumer Reports starting in 2009 identified that it is not the hearing aids themselves that are the problem. They determined it’s the kind of hearing aid “fitting” procedures that create the problem. The study found that two-thirds of patients who purchase hearing aids were not fitted properly by the hearing aid provider, resulting in the aids being amplified too little or too much.
Audiologists in Europe have found that the ACAM® system improves patient satisfaction with their hearing aids by as much as 80% over traditional methods used by audiologists without the ACAM® system. Data for the US market is still being developed as the ACAM® is new to the US, but experts hope that those numbers will prove to be true for the United States. Some have called systems like ACAM® the "future of hearing". The ACAM® system has been successfully treating patients in Europe for over 25 years and with the introduction to the US market we expect to see similar results here,” said Dr. Keefer. “The fact that it has already made such a difference in our patients’ lives is truly a blessing for them and for us.”
Because the ACAM 5® system is so unique and brings the latest technologies to the market, patients and a few leading researchers have embraced this system with open arms. Eddie McDonald of Bridgeport, TX is one of the many new patients who came to Now Hear This® in search of a better option. After visiting the practice and being treated with the ACAM 5® system McDonald has seen a dramatic improvement in his hearing aids. “I hear better than I ever have before with a hearing aid,” said McDonald. “You hear more detail. You hear more sounds. You can enjoy a little bit more of life and understand a little bit more in business.”