No two ears are exactly the same. In fact, a recent study found that the “outer ear may prove to be one of the most accurate and least intrusive ways to identify people” (source). So as you can imagine, getting your hearing aid adjusted to fit your ear’s shape is an important step in the process. However, a hearing aid fitting procedure involves more than just making sure your hearing aid “fits” right. Keep reading to learn about the process.
Hearing Aid Fitting Procedure
Step One: Hearing Aid Evaluation
First, your audiologist will conduct a hearing aid evaluation. He or she will record the softest sound you can hear at different pitches and figure out what level of sound is uncomfortably loud for you. This test will determine how much amplification your hearing aid needs. Your audiologist might also ask questions about how much your hearing loss impacts your day-to-day-life, when you first noticed symptoms, and whether or not you experience tinnitus.
Tell your audiologist what you’re looking forward to doing with your new hearing aids, as your lifestyle will affect your selection. For example, do you often chat on the phone? Do you enjoy dining at busy restaurants with lots of background noise? Have you been avoiding any environments or situations due to your hearing loss?
After your hearing evaluation, your audiologist should have a good understanding of the severity and particularities of your hearing loss.
Step Two: Choosing Your Hearing Aid
There are several different types of hearing aids, and your audiologist will typically allow you to see and touch the options available. Your audiologist will also help you figure out which hearing aids best fit your lifestyle and budget. Explore the styles and technologies available so that you can tell your audiologist your preferences. Do you prefer a nearly invisible style or a bold, bright design? Would you like your device to be automated, or would you prefer to have more control over it? Are you concerned about your ability to insert and remove a hearing aid? Since hearing aids can add significant value to your life, make sure you choose one that you will be comfortable using every day.
Step Three: Ear Impressions
After you’ve determined which hearing aids best fit your situation, your audiologist might take impressions of your ears. Custom hearing aids and behind-the-ear hearing aids both require ear molds during the hearing aid fitting procedure.
Step Four: Programming and Education
Next, your hearing professional will need to order your hearing aids. As a result, you most likely won’t receive your hearing aids on the same day as your first appointment. After your hearing aids arrive at your audiologist’s office, your audiologist will hook them up to a computer and program them to fit your needs. Then, you’ll need to come in for an appointment to test them out. If your new hearing aids are uncomfortable or sound strange, make sure to tell your audiologist. Most of the time, your hearing professional can quickly adjust these problems. Keep in mind that it might take a few appointments until your hearing aids work just right for you in all listening situations.
In addition, sometimes there is a small learning curve when it comes to hearing aids. Don’t be afraid to call your audiologist if you have any questions regarding how to use and care for your hearing aids. You will also need to learn how to replace the batteries and clean your hearing aids.
Step Five: Enjoy the New Sounds
Putting on a pair of hearing aids for the first time can be an emotional experience. You might be surprised at how much you can hear. Take a walk, and listen for the sounds of birds, the hum of cars, and the laughter of kids playing in a park. Go to a local choir or symphony concert, and watch TV at a reasonable volume without using subtitles. Host a game night with your loved ones and enjoy listening to conversations with ease. The possibilities are endless!
Are you experiencing hearing loss? Don’t wait any longer to make an appointment for a hearing aid fitting procedure. If you live near Limon, Pueblo, or Colorado Springs, Colorado, schedule a consultation with Apex Audiology today. Dr. William F. Herholtz will help you find the right hearing aid to fit your budget and needs. To get started, please call us at 719-247-9000 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to connecting with you!