Patient Care

Adult audiology: setting national standards for patient care

Audiology student examines ear of a patient

The standard of care is outstanding for most clinical specialties at Washington University/BJC, including audiology. At least that’s what the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) thinks.

AAA chose Washington University’s adult audiology as a model for patient care for the development of two best practices guidelines. The first guideline outlined best practices for the selection, fitting, verifying and validating the performance of hearing aids for adult patients. The second guideline outlined best practices for similar care, but in patients with severe-to-profound single-sided hearing loss.

Mike Valente, PhD Director of Adult Audiology

Mike Valente, PhD, director of Adult Audiology, was chosen to chair the two committees tasked with writing the guidelines.

“We were chosen as the model program based on our national reputation,” says Valente. “We give numerous presentations at regional and national meetings, so leaders in the field know how we manage our patients.”

When fitting hearing aids to adult patients, according to Valente, there are five pillars of care that should be standard at all institutions:

  • Patient counseling
  • Technology (hardware) selection that is based on hearing loss pattern and patient desires
  • Verifying the fit using real ear measures to a prescriptive target
  • Assessment of speech understanding in noisy environments
  • Validation (questionnaire) of the actual benefit perceived by the patient

This exceptional level of care is available at all of our department’s audiology clinics: Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital; the Center for Advanced Medicine; the Clinic at the Central Institute for the Deaf; and The Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at St. Luke’s Hospital, established by Dr. Jacques Herzog.

“Our four clinical sites share two common goals,” says Valente. “Always use best practices, and treat every patient as family.”