A hearing aid evaluation involves many steps. If you suspect that you might need a hearing aid, you will first need to have a hearing evaluation. At the time of the hearing evaluation, a case history will be taken to determine the extent to which your hearing problem impacts your day-to-day life as well as the lives of your family members. The audiologist will review your general health history and ask when and how the hearing loss started, if there is ringing in your ears (tinnitus), and if you experience dizziness.
The results from your hearing test will provide your audiologist with an outline of what sounds you may be missing or hearing. In addition, the personal answers about your daily life and your perception of your hearing will provide the basis for a more comprehensive hearing evaluation. You may be referred to a medical doctor specializing in disorders of the ear if you are a candidate for hearing aids or if there are other medical conditions your hearing professional thinks should be addressed before hearing aids are recommended. This referral is often the first step in the hearing aid examination.
If your hearing test reveals permanent hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend a hearing aid for one or both ears. He or she may explain what sounds you are not hearing and what a hearing aid (or hearing aids) can do to help. It is usually at this appointment that you will get to see and touch different styles of hearing aids. In some cases, you may even be able to listen to a hearing aid. Your hearing professional will help you choose the best hearing aid style, features, and level of sophistication based on your degree of hearing loss, your lifestyle, and your financial circumstances. However, the final decision regarding which hearing aid to purchase is your choice.
Once you make a decision, the hearing professional may take impressions of your ears if you selected custom hearing aids or behind-the-ear hearing aids that require earmolds. Hearing aids usually must be ordered from a manufacturer and then programmed by your hearing professional to meet your specific hearing needs. This process can take a few weeks, so do not be disappointed when you do not receive your hearing aid on the same day as your evaluation.