Similarities Between Scout Snipers & Audiologists Who Fit Hearing Aids


– In this video, I’m gonna
share the four biggest similarities between being
a Marine Corps scout sniper and an audiologist who fits
hearing aids; coming up! (upbeat music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, doctor of audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona, and on this channel I cover a bunch of
hearing-related information to help you make a
better-informed consumer. So if you’re into that, make sure you hit that subscribe button. And don’t forget to click the bell to receive a notification
every time I post a new video. If you’ve ever been to my website, drcliffaud.com and you’ve read my bio, then you already know that I served in the United States Marine
Corps from 2002 to 2006, and my military occupational specialty, otherwise known as MOS, was 8541, which is a Marine Corps scout sniper. When most people find this out, they are generally shocked, because I do not look like the type of guy who would fit the mold
of a typical Marine, let alone a scout sniper. After all, I do weigh
about 40 pounds less now than I did when I was in active duty. But after overcoming their shock, they typically ask me how the heck I went from being a scout
sniper to an audiologist, because those seem like two
completely different things. But I typically respond
with there are actually more similarities between being a scout sniper and an audiologist than you may think. Especially when it comes
to fitting hearing aids. So here are the four biggest similarities between being a scout sniper
and being an audiologist who fits hearing aids. And the first similarity is they both require a team effort. Snipers do not operate independently. They often go out with
at least a two man team. And that second individual in the team is considered the spotter. The spotter is actually
more responsible for making the distance calls, the windage calls, and the elevation calls to help the sniper get on target and be accurate
when they’re shooting. Communication is absolutely
critical in this relationship. This is the same type of relationship that an audiologist should
have with their patient. Without really good, open communication, the audiologist is not going to be able to identify what the best hearing aids are for that particular patient. Nor are they gonna be
able to custom program those devices precisely
to what the needs are of that individual. The second similarity is you
must follow the fundamentals. Shooting is all about
following the fundamentals. If you do not follow the fundamentals, you will end up missing your target. There are a variety of
different fundamentals that you must follow when shooting. A few of them are making
sure that you shoot during your natural respiratory pause, and making sure that
you have a nice, slow, steady trigger squeeze. As an audiologist, we have a laundry list of fundamentals that
we call best practices, which are specific procedures
that we should be following in order to maximize hearing aid benefit. Ignore the fundamentals
and you run the risk of reducing the amount of overall benefit that you get with your hearing aids, which in my book is
completely unacceptable. Wanna know what these best practices are? Well I went ahead and
linked my best practice checklist in the
description of this video. So make sure that you print them out and take them in to your
hearing care provider at your next visit. The third similarity is precision. In order to be a great sniper, you have to be meticulous. This means that when it comes
to things like shooting, you have to follow the
fundamentals and follow them with extreme precision. Otherwise you may miss your target and then the good guys
may be the ones who die. Now when it comes to fitting hearing aids, precision is also critical
in maximizing performance. Take real ear measurement for instance. Real ear measurement is the
way that we custom program hearing aids to your
hearing loss prescription. If you do not follow the
fundamental best practices of real ear measurement
with extreme precision, it could reduce your overall
benefit with your hearing aids. Now if you would like to
learn more about real ear measurement, then I highly
recommend that you watch my video that I will
link in the description, because it is the only way to ensure that your hearing aids
are programmed properly for your hearing loss prescription. And the fourth similarity
between being a scout sniper and an audiologist who fits
hearing aids is patience. In most cases, being a sniper
is nothing like you see in the movies. First of all, these movies should be about 72 hours long with 99%
of it being of you seeing the sniper laying in the prone position, looking at whatever his
observation area is, and reporting back information to the command center. And every once in a while, that sniper may actually take a shot
at a high value target. And while all of these things
are absolutely critical to the success of a mission, it requires an extreme amount of patience. This is how patience
relates to hearing aids. All the fun things that
we do at the fitting and those followup
appointments are all exciting. I mean we’re fitting
the hearing aids on you. We’re custom programing those devices. We’re showing you different
things that you need to know in order to maximize your performance when you’re out on your own. But the vast majority of
time using hearing aids is spent when you are
out in the real world, not inside of your audiologist’s office. Now I’m a really patient guy
when it comes to hearing aids. I understand that it just
takes time for your brain to acclimate to those devices. So it’s my job to help
the patient understand that it’s gonna take them
time and they have to be patient as well to allow
their brain to change. In a very interesting article published in the Hearing Review,
researchers Dr. Anu Sharma and Dr. Hannah Glick presented
some interesting findings showing the effects of hearing
aid use on brain function. This image from their study
uses functional MRI imaging to help illustrate what
is actually happening in the brain with the use of hearing aids. Picture A shows the involvement
of visual processing areas of the brain that
it uses to supplement the auditory centers of the brain when you have a hearing
loss before treatment with hearing aids. You can see that the area behind the eyes is the primary area of
stimulation for this individual, with very little stimulation
in the area behind the ears. Picture B, on the other
hand, shows which areas of the brain are stimulated
just 30 days following a hearing aid fitting. You can see in this image
how the areas of stimulation have shifted from behind the eyes to behind the ears. Table C explains what’s actually going on from a performance
standpoint, pre and post hearing aid fitting. In column A, it shows
which type of assessments where evaluated with the test subject. There is an auditory only task, an auditory and visual task combined, the percentage of overall benefit that was provided by vision, and a cognitive assessment. Pre hearing aid fitting, the
subject only scored 23.3% correct on auditory only tasks. This improved to 54.4%
correct after 30 days. Auditory plus visual tasks
improved by 63.3% to 74.5%. The thing that I find
interesting about this, is that 40% of overall performance benefit was provided by vision prior
to the hearing aid fitting, and only 20.1% was
provided 30 days following hearing aid fitting. This illustrates how the brain shifts which areas of the brain
are doing the processing when the right amount of sound makes it from the ears to the brain. What is also interesting
is that the cognitive performance of this
individual improved as well, showing the power of
consistent hearing aid use on overall cognitive
function in this case study. While this is only one case study, it illustrates what may be possible with consistent hearing aid use, and a little bit of patience. There you go, those are the
four biggest similarities between being a scout
sniper and an audiologist who works with hearing aids. So the next time that
you’re watching a movie about a scout sniper,
just remember to think about your audiologist. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below. If you like the video, please share it. If you wanna see other
videos just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Also feel free to check out
my website, drcliffaud.com. (upbeat music)

15 thoughts on “Similarities Between Scout Snipers & Audiologists Who Fit Hearing Aids

  1. hello, my friends have started to notice that I cannot hear as well as I could in previous school years. is there anything I can do to help my hearing, it is often bad in the school canteen where there is a loud radio and lots of talking and would really appreciate any advice you could give me

  2. Great video. Used to tell similar things to my patien, but THIS is waaaaay better!
    (Ex paratrooper talking and now audiologist, great work Marine!)

  3. Great video and Semper Fi! Thank you for your service. I’m going to share this with my son Ron Jr who served in the Army Reserves for 13 years. Recently at my gun club I got into a heated debate with an audiologist when I mentioned they recently got new ReSounds from COSTCO. But hey I don’t argue with fellow skeet shooters! And I knew that COSTCO uses Real Ear Measurements and I’m happy with my purchase. Keep up the great and informative content!

  4. I feel like you could be a pretty intimidating if you wanted to be, but you have such a big smile that it completely ruins the affect.

  5. I found the initial comparison confusing and unrelated. You explanation is great and understandable. Thanks for sharing from your personal experience.

  6. Dr. Cliff, if you can time permitting, can you do a video on what's being marketed as The Best German Hearing Aids ? I'm always getting inundated with ads from these people. Not sure if its true but they advertise them as small and easy to fit or CIC's.

  7. I agree with those who have said "thank you for your service then and now" You have made my hearing a turn around experience thanks for your expert performance.

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