Hearing & Hearing Loss
Most often, hearing loss is a slow process that is difficult and stigmatized for affected patients to self-diagnose. Patients depend on trusted doctors and especially primary care providers (PCPs) to diagnose and treat or refer them to specialists. However, most PCPs and other trusted healthcare professionals who could test their patients for hearing loss choose not to do so. Even though they are fully billable to insurance, complete hearing tests are too complex, too costly for non-hearing healthcare providers to prioritize over other alternatives, and do not differentiate between potential diagnoses.
Hearing Healthcare Pro™
dB Diagnostic Systems is excited to unleash widespread hearing testing with Hearing Healthcare ProTM Platform Suite. This FDA 510k cleared propriety software application and hardware suite motivates relevant healthcare providers to test their patients for hearing loss. Our patented solution is the most compact, easy-to-use, and provider-friendly solution available today. With deep industry experience and expertise, dB Diagnostics engineered the Hearing Healthcare Pro for healthcare providers not normally trained or equipped to provide hearing healthcare. The current Hearing Healthcare Pro will (1) take advantage of a practice’s existing resources, such as visiting patients who wait in an existing examination room to see the doctor; (2) allow patients to be tested minimizing staff time; (3) helps providers diagnose the etiology of hearing loss in 75% of all such patients; (4) includes triage recommendations; and (5) is a covered service by most health plans including Medicare and Medicaid.
dB Diagnostics aims to revolutionize and democratize early hearing loss identification processes by engaging non-hearing healthcare providers and improve hearing-related quality of life across all populations.
With the rapid expansion of our Department of Otolaryngology to meet the growing clinical demands for our services across the region, we have been challenged to create the most efficient workflows for our audiology colleagues as they try to perform routine testing, cochlear implant programming, balance assessments, and hearing aid sales for our busy practice. I initially looked at Hearing Healthcare Pro as a means to provide timely assessments for patients seen in routine clinical practice, potentially freeing up our highly trained audiologists to work “at top of license”. Once I became familiar with the device, its ease of use, and the decision support component, I saw its potential in the primary care arena as a means to detect hearing loss and subsequently streamline the process for referrals, evaluation, and, possibly, hearing aid sales. With the known negative impact of hearing loss on quality of life and the imminent arrival of OTC hearing aids, widespread, accurate hearing screening is a public health imperative. During our trial, we found the devices easy to use by all levels of staff, and we appreciated the engagement and support of the dB team.
Brian A. Moore, MD | New Orleans, LA
As a Family Medicine physician for the past 32 years, I know the importance of finding problems in their earliest stages to prevent poor outcomes. Only recently have I become aware of the impact that hearing loss has for our older population. Loss of hearing leads to depression, social isolation, increased risk of falls as well as dementia. Because of this, I was looking for a way to do accurate hearing testing in my office instead of referring to an audiologist or otolaryngologist. I discovered Hearing Healthcare Pro and have completed a pilot study. The system is very user friendly and training is easy. The actual test takes about 10 minutes and then the technician goes over the results with the patient before they leave the office. The hearing simulation is extremely valuable. Patients were able to hear what they were missing and in some cases this is what convinced them to consider getting hearing aids. I found that when patients were advised of the association of hearing loss with the increased risk of developing dementia, they all wanted to be tested. I personally feel that doing hearing screening in a primary care office is very valuable and has the potential to improve the quality of life for thousands of patients. Since there are not enough audiologists and otolaryngologists in the country to test all of the people that could benefit, Hearing Healthcare Pro is a valuable asset for offices to have.
Donna Gates, MD | Greensboro, NC
My experience with Hearing Healthcare Pro was very eye opening, both as a patient with a lifelong hearing loss and as an otolaryngologist. I have been obtaining annual hearing tests since the age of 3, and through the years I have developed a small amount of performance anxiety and claustrophobia with the audio booth and accompanying audiologist. With Hearing Healthcare Pro, those negative feelings were not present at all. I was able to obtain the hearing test in the comforts of a quiet room and by myself, without someone scrutinizing my every response to a noise. The test was very quick, taking about 8-10 minutes in total, and it was very easy to follow. The headphones fit comfortably over my ears, and the piece of technology was easy to handle for a first-time user. After the test was done, I received a well-organized printout of the results, including the pure tone thresholds and tympanometry. As an otolaryngologist, I have studied my own audiograms, and I know my degree of hearing loss very well across all frequencies. After receiving the results of the Hearing Healthcare Pro hearing test, I can say that it correlated very strongly with my annual audiogram. The accuracy of the test was very impressive, especially since it was so easy to perform. As an otolaryngologist training in a large academic institution, I see the daily burden placed on audiologists and otolaryngologists to manage patients who present with hearing related issues including hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo. The accuracy of Hearing Healthcare Pro as well as its ability to be performed with ease can provide a tremendous boost to the workflow of audiologists and otolaryngologists. Furthermore, I believe that the information it provides including pure tone thresholds and tympanometry combined with a thorough history and physical examination is enough to help manage a majority of patients without on-demand audiology staff, thus giving primary care physicians the power to take a more active role in the diagnosis of patients with hearing related issues. The most powerful part of my experience with Hearing Healthcare Pro, was at the end, when the software took my hearing test results and simulated what it was like for me to hear compared to normal hearing adults. In my entire adult life as a hearing impaired person, nobody has ever demonstrated this to me before. It enabled me to see just how difficult it is for me to hear on a daily basis compared to my normal hearing peers. In a way, it validated my lifelong pursuit to succeed in the face of adversity, and that feeling of validation was priceless.
Sam Spinowitz, MD | Brooklyn, NY