Until now, a hearing aid might have just stayed in someone’s dresser drawer, says owner Lee Brown of Brown Hearing Centers.
That is, until a revolutionary new method of testing the fitting of hearing aids arrived in Southeast Texas.

“They keep their aid in a drawer half the time because they either hear too much or not enough,” Brown says. “With this [new system], they’ll wear ‘em.”

And Brown should know, since he has worn hearing aids for the past 15 years or so.

“Having hearing aids programed with the new system takes account for understanding and noise issues, and it is superior to other methods,” Brown says. “That’s what people complain about the most with hearing aids is trying to hear with background noise.”

In the past patients were asked, “Is this better” or “Is this worse?” when defining their hearing aids. Then to fine-tune them further, patients would have to return in a few week for more testing. 

But the Real Ear Measurement system can fit the aids better on one visit and eliminates many future returns to the office.

A probe microphone and tiny tube are inserted into the patient’s ear, hearing specialist Ed Toohey says. The probe is connected to computer software that registers testing results on a monitor.

“This way they can see now the aids are actually performing in the ear,” Toohey says.

Brown adds, “When I had a demonstration on [Real Ear] they put the mechanism on me and it’s so quiet, it’s like you don’t even have an aid on. Most people can’t hear because of background noise. This is totally different.”

And the test is no cost to new patients, Toohey says. 

“They can come in a have their hearing checked,” he says. “They are under no obligation other than to come in and experience it for themselves.

“Most people don’t have a problem in a quiet room. It’s when they get out into a crowded environment they have trouble. This [system] can tune a lot of that out, and there have also been advances made in the hearing aids themselves that help make that possible.”

In business since 1962, Brown Hearing Centers started in Victoria and now has offices throughout Texas and Louisiana, including Austin, Dallas, Beaumont and Lake Jackson. 

Headquarters is in Orange at 105 Camellia St., 883-3010 (www.brownhearingcenters.com).