Having a hearing aid fitted for the first time can be a daunting process. But afterwards, you’ll wonder what you were worried about! This brief guide should help you in deciding to finally go through the hearing aid fitting process. It’s everything you need to know.
Your ear and hearing will be assessed to choose the right hearing aid for you…
Of course, the hearing aid fitting process involves assessing both your hearing and the physical structure of your ear. After a brief discussion with you about why you need a hearing aid and what kind of hearing aid you would like, your clinician will put you through a thorough auditory assessment. Or in plain English, a hearing test! Hearing aid fittings are occasionally covered by insurance, although if you aren’t sure if your insurance covers the test, then be sure to ask before your test begins.
The test itself shouldn’t take any longer than fifteen or twenty minutes. The point of the test is to identify the precise problem with your hearing. So, for example, whether you can hear high pitched sounds better than lower pitched sounds, this would necessitate a different approach to setting up your hearing aid. You may also- as is often the case- have better hearing in one ear than in the other. This is a fairly common occurrence among the people we help.
Your audiologist will be able to pinpoint which kind of hearing loss you have. If you didn’t know, there are two main kinds. There is hearing loss which is caused by damage to the delicate structures of the ear, specifically either the auditory nerve or the sensitive hairs in the cochlea which pick up sound. And there is hearing loss caused by medical conditions like an infection. Infections require medical treatment, whereas damage to the ear makes a hearing aid necessary if you want to hear as you did before. Your audiologist will conduct a brief inspection prior to the test, which will rule out an infection or another cause like an earwax buildup.
…But figuring out precisely what you need is a two-person job
While the hearing test will help your audiologist make a decision about what kind of hearing aid you need, your input is vital too. If you would prefer a particular kind of hearing aid, you have to let your audiologist know. So, for example, you might want an over the ear model; or a hearing aid that fits directly into the ear canal. If you prefer one over the other, you should ask your audiologist to let you try out different kinds. You might find that you were right all along, or that you changed your mind. That’s perfectly natural.
Getting the right kind of hearing aid, no matter what your taste, is important. You’re the one who’ll be using them. So you’ll want hearing aids that you don’t mind wearing, with regards to both comfort and style. Large numbers of people who pay for a test, and commit the time to having one, give up on their hearing aids either because they’re uncomfortable- which is a point we’ll come to a minute- or because they’re too bulky and obvious for their liking. So, throughout the hearing aid fitting process, you should expect to be an active participant!
The hearing aid fitting process won’t hurt, unless they’re fitted incorrectly
This is often what puts people off having their hearing aids fitted for the first time. The only reason that it might hurt is if they’re fitted incorrectly. Just like everybody’s noses and eyes are different, everybody’s ears are different too. So, what fits one person won’t fit another. The only way to find out whether a particular model or kind of hearing aid fits is to try it out! If you find that the hard plastic of the hearing aid rubs against a bone in your ear, or slides out too easily, then you should try another. This can all be figured out during the hearing aid fitting process.
As you try more and more hearing aids, your clinician will get a better idea of what’s right for you. They will point you in the right direction, and suggest what they think will help you. This relates both to comfort and to improved hearing, so with a clinician, you really are getting a better service than buying online.
Your clinician will brief you on the proper care and maintenance of your hearing aid
Once you’ve had the perfect hearing aid fitted, your audiologist will give you the lowdown on how to take care of it. If you didn’t know, hearing aids require regular cleaning to keep them clear of earwax and dirt. If you don’t clean them at least fairly often, the wax can clog the hearing aid and stop it from being able to do what it does best- helping you hear! And in the worst cases, the oily wax can seep through into the delicate electronics of an in-the-canal hearing aid and make it unusable. Not good! Your audiologist will give you some helpful hints and tips on how to keep your hearing aid cleaned. They’ll also recommend that you visit for another hearing test at some point in the future, just to check that your hearing loss hasn’t deteriorated.
There is plenty more that you can expect to experience during the hearing aid fitting process. Far more than we can include here! So why not contact us and ask any questions you might have? Our friendly staff are always happy to help!