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Widex Moment - October 2021

Interview with Eric Hagberg Au.D., Audiologist

Eric Hagberg, AuD

November 3, 2003

An audiologist Talks About the SeboTek PAC Hearing Aids
AO/Beck: Hi Eric. Thanks for joining me today. Would you please tell me about your education and your professional history?

Hagberg: Sure Doug. My undergraduate degree was from the State University of New York at Buffalo, back in 1974 in Speech and Hearing. My graduate education in Audiology was done at Kent State, and I earned my Au.D through the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2000. As you probably know my mentor at Kent State was Ken Berger, Ph.D. At the time I was disappointed in the current hearing aid evaluation/selection procedures we were being taught and expressed this to him. His reply was Good - and now what we're going to do about it is ... I co-authored with him, along with Rob Rane, Ph.D. his hearing aid fitting prescription method, known as Berger . I serve on the board of directors at Marcon as well as the Audiology Foundation of America (AFA).

AO/Beck: Where do you practice now?

Hagberg: I have two offices here in Ohio, one located in Boardman and the other in Liberty. The offices are affiliated with Marcon, a member-owned organization of hearing professionals who share successful business practices and support one another with marketing programs and industry insights and experiences.

AO/Beck: How long have you been in practice?

Hagberg: Since 1975. My first five years were spent in an ENT office here in town, and then I went into private practice and founded Neuro-Communication Services in 1982. We do the full range of audiology and hearing aid dispensing services.

AO/Beck: Please tell me a little bit about your experience with SeboTek. How long have you been dispensing the PAC and what are your thoughts on this new type of hearing aid?

Hagberg: I began looking at SeboTek a year ago. I first learned about them at the annual Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA) meeting. I had used a somewhat similar product before, but it was less flexible, less high tech and had less options. I was one of those guys that asked every hearing aid manufacturer, If you can build a completely-in-the-canal instrument so small, why can't you build a tiny programmable over-the-ear hearing aid? Anyway, at that ADA meeting, SeboTek was demonstrating exactly what I had been looking for. They combined digital technology with cosmetic advantages, and I liked it. I began fitting the PAC shortly after they went into production, almost a year ago. I fit them on people who were previously doing well with amplification, and new users too. The bottom line is that the results have been excellent.

AO/Beck: Who are the ideal patients for the SeboTek device?

Hagberg: Patients with hearing losses ranging from mild to severe. Patients with steeply sloping losses do extremely well. I have fit one or two people with 70 dB hearing loss, and they've done fine. Importantly, I believe dexterity is also a key factor whenever we fit over-the-ear instruments with button controls that need to be pushed. Another dexterity issue is inserting the PAC correctly. However, I am finding that most patients insert the PAC better than conventional ear molds!

AO/Beck: That's interesting about the insertion because it is a deep canal fitting, right?

Hagberg: Very deep, yes. But with a little lubricant, the device slips right into place without the occlusion effect. That's an exciting benefit too. I think we've all written about and talked about the lack of occlusion with deep fittings, but in reality, I don't know that many of us saw that come to fruition before the PAC. But truly, based on what my patients tell me, with the deep fitting PAC and the soft silicon tips, there is no occlusion effect.

AO/Beck: Please tell me about the audiometric results you're getting?

Hagberg: We've been programming them with live speech mapping, and we do adhere to scientifically sound fitting protocols. I've had no problem reaching high frequencies. Previously, we've had some trouble presenting high frequency sounds to some patients because of acoustic feedback issues. However, we're getting great results per the speech mapping, and the free field tests, and we're able to recover more high frequencies than previously.

AO/Beck: Eric, can you give me an example of that? Suppose the patient has a 70 dB loss at 3000, 4000 and 6000 Hz, and you fit them with the PAC. What reasonable expectations you would have for their aided thresholds?

Hagberg: Of course that will vary tremendously, but I believe it would be reasonable to anticipate 30 to 35 dB of improved thresholds at 3000, 4000 and 6000 Hz.

AO/Beck: What do the patients say about it?

Hagberg: The most consistent thing they report is clearer hearing. Their own voice is improved too. A friend of mine reported that the sound was like getting his hearing back, instead of everything sounding amplified to him.

AO/Beck: Eric, please tell me, who would not be an appropriate candidate for the PAC?

Hagberg: Right now I would say that each patient has to be considered based on his or her type and degree of hearing loss. Sometimes patients will want and need hearing help, but if they only have a very mild loss, or a profound loss, the PAC may not be the best choice.

AO/Beck: What about battery size, and how long do the batteries last?

Hagberg: The PAC uses an extremely small package with a size 13 battery. The battery life is excellent. The controls are also well designed and the PAC is easily switched from program to program, or memory to memory, as long as the patient has reasonably normal dexterity.

AO/Beck: And you can also vary the directionality?

Hagberg: You can change it. We've actually set up two polar patterns for people who are walkers, one specifically to cut down road noise from the side.

AO/Beck: Anything else you'd like to mention?

Hagberg: Well, the PAC is a relatively new instrument from a relatively new company. I hear from people around the country that are afraid to try things from new companies and I would like to remind them, that's how all the big companies started! They start as small companies with great ideas! If people give this instrument a try, I think they'll be very, very pleased with it.

AO/Beck: Thanks Eric. I appreciate your time.

Hagberg: You're welcome, Doug. Thanks for the opportunity.

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Eric Hagberg, AuD


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