Your Hearing Aid Fitting
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, your audiologist will prescribe hearing aids. Successfully wearing hearing aids is a multi-step process. It begins with the hearing assessment. Next, you will discuss the different styles, models, and features you need. The audiologist will order your hearing aids and schedule a fitting. During the fitting, the hearing aid programs will be adjusted if necessary and then you will be counseled on adjusting to the hearings aids and instructed on care. Here’s what happens during the hearing aid fitting in detail.
Programming your hearing aids
When your hearing aids are ordered, the audiologist provides programming instructions. As part of the fitting process, the audiologist will confirm that the hearing aids were programmed correctly. More programming may be performed to fine-tune your hearing experience. Most audiologists check the programming before you arrive for your fitting. But, programming may be a part of your hearing aid fitting.
Real ear measure
As part of the fitting, the audiologist will check that the sound level coming from the hearing aid is comfortable to you. This is done with a Real Ear Measure test.
A small tube is placed in your ear to measure the amount of sound delivered to the ear. Next, the audiologist will insert your hearing aid and begin to test different sound levels. The goal is for the hearing aid to deliver just the right amount of sound you need, without been too loud.
Adjustments will be made as necessary.
If your hearing aid uses an earmold, an impression was made of your ear at the time the hearing aids were ordered. During the fitting, the audiologist will check the fit of the earmold. When properly fitted, the earmold does not allow any sound to escape. If sound escapes, it can be picked up by the microphone and amplified and delivered again to the ear. This is called a feedback loop, and it results in a whistling, whining or loud electronic noise that is very uncomfortable.
Adjustment and maintenance
Wearing hearing aids requires an adjustment period. Hearing loss starves your brain of acoustic input. When you wear hearing aids, suddenly your brain is overwhelmed with sound. You will hear things you might not have experienced for years. This overload on the brain can be tiring. The audiologist will give you a schedule for wearing your hearing aids to allow your brain to adjust. During the adjustment period, it is helpful to keep a journal. During your first follow-up appointment, you will have a record of your experiences during the adjustment period to discuss with the audiologist.
Before you leave the fitting appointment, the audiologist will teach you how to care for your hearing aids. This includes procedures for cleaning and changing the battery. Drying or dehumidifying boxes and cleaning tools will be discussed as well. Be sure to practice these procedures under the careful eye of the audiologist to make sure you understand what to do before you leave.
The number of follow-up appointments you will need varies from person to person. Each individual adjusts to hearing aids differently.
During the adjustment period, be sure to keep your follow-up appointments and call the audiologist if you have any problems or concerns.