How Your Audiologist Conducts a Hearing Aid Fitting
If you’ve recently had a hearing test and found that you have hearing loss, then the hearing aid fitting is very likely to come next. Hearing aids are the most commonly used treatment for hearing loss and are hugely effective, especially thanks to the advancement of hearing care technology in the past decade.
However, it’s not uncommon for patients to be nervous about visiting the audiologist for the fitting. For that reason, we’re going to go into detail on what the process entails, so you know exactly what to expect.
Before the fitting
Unless you’ve had one very recently, a hearing test will be done to ensure there haven’t been any changes to your hearing since you last saw your audiologist. This may be the case if you’re buying a new hearing aid. Your lifestyle needs, hearing loss severity and budget will be addressed following the test as part of the process of helping you select the hearing aid that meets all your requirements. Once your choice has been made, your audiologist will order the hearing aid and make an appointment for you to come back. If your hearing aid uses a custom fit earmold, as is often the case with some behind the ear and in the ear hearing aids, the audiologist will take an impression of the ear canal first.
Before the fitting, the audiologist will do some preliminary programming based on the audiogram generated by your hearing test. This is to make sure that the hearing aid meets your needs and works effectively. This may be done at the beginning of your fitting appointment but is often done in advance.
The hearing aid fitting process
A hearing aid fitting appointment shouldn’t be too strenuous or too long. All hearing aids are designed to be placed in the ear and taken out every day, so there is no lengthy installation process necessary. Before the hearing aid is inserted, however, the audiologist will gently insert a thin tube that rests near your eardrum. The purpose of this is to measure how your eardrum reacts to sounds, both quiet and loud, before and after the hearing aid is inserted.
The hearing aid will be inserted, with the audiologist informing you how to both put it in and take it out. Meanwhile, the tube will be used to measure your eardrum movements, which can help the audiologist further calibrate the device’s settings so that you can hear all types of sound comfortably. During this process, the audiologist will also ask you whether the hearing aid fits and isn’t painful to wear. Some minor discomfort is expected, as many people are unused to wearing devices in their ear but if the hearing aid hurts or feels too big, don’t be afraid to let the audiologist know.
Learning more about your hearing aids
Directly after the fitting, the audiologist will tell you more about how to use your hearing aid, as well as how to care for them. This can include learning more about specific features, how to program it and general maintenance like cleaning the device and taking out/putting in the batteries. If you’re nervous that you might forget some details, feel free to jot them down or ask the audiologist to provide them for you. They may have pamphlets detailing everything you need to know or might simply be able to write the information down so you always have it available.
Getting used to your hearing aids
As mentioned, you might be unused to wearing hearing aids, so the experience can be a little uncomfortable at first. Not only might it take a while to get used to physically, but suddenly experiencing clarity and volume in hearing might be overwhelming to you. Your audiologist might outline a plan to help you get used to them. For instance, it’s a good idea to only wear them for a couple of hours a day at the very start, then gradually increase the time period until you’re wearing them all day (except for when you go to bed). You can also adjust to your hearing aids by slowly exposing yourself to louder environments. For instance, try wearing them in the privacy of your own home, then in company, then outdoors, then in environments like restaurants and cafes. Your audiologist will make a follow-up appointment with you to ensure that you’re getting used to them and to make any adjustments to the programming, too. If you have any issues, feel free to bring them up and the audiologist can help you find a solution.
If you want to arrange a hearing aid fitting, have yet to select a hearing aid or simply want to find out more about what we do, get in contact with Advantage Hearing & Audiology at (336) 271-4944 for our Greensboro office or (336) 344-9467 for our Eden location. Your audiologist is the partner you need in your hearing health journey, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.