If you wear hearing aids to manage hearing loss or tinnitus symptoms, the
4 Factors in a Successful Hearing Aid Fitting
Hearing aids are an investment not just in your hearing but in your overall health and quality of life. It’s worth taking the time to go for a proper hearing aid fitting. With that in mind, here are five factors you can expect in a successful hearing aid fitting.
An appraisal of your hearing loss
Your audiologist needs to know the exact nature of your hearing loss. They need to know how profound it is and whether it only occurs at certain frequencies. They will also need to check if your hearing loss is the same in both ears.
An assessment of the shape of your ears and hands
One way or another, the hearing aid will need to be attached to your ear. This means that it needs to be appropriate for the shape or shapes of your external ear, eardrum and ear canal. The shape of the external ear is very distinctive. What’s more, there can be substantial differences between the left and right ears.
You will not wear your hearing aid all the time. For example, you’ll take it out when showering and when you go to bed at night. This means that you need to be able to remove and refit your hearing aid without your audiologist being present. The size and shape of your hands will, therefore, also be a consideration.
An assessment of your lifestyle and preferences
When discussing your lifestyle and preferences with you, your audiologist will be aiming to determine three key facts:
- How important is it for you that the hearing aid is as discreet as it can be?
- How often are you likely to have to remove and refit the hearing aid?
- How do you feel about technology?
Currently, the more discreet hearing aids tend to require some dexterity to fit and some confidence with technology to operate. You will need to decide for yourself whether this is a trade-off you are happy to make.
Your audiologist will give you all the information you need to make an informed choice. In fact, they may have sample hearing aids you can try out to get an idea of how you would feel about using them in your everyday life.
It’s also worth noting that hearing aids in general are much more discreet than they used to be. In particular, the traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid has now shrunk to the point where it looks fairly similar to a Bluetooth earpiece. Given that so many people wear earpieces so much of the time, BTE hearing aids can be barely noticeable.
Customized hearing aid programming
When your chosen hearing aid has arrived, your audiologist will program it to your exact requirements so that it works perfectly for you. In simple terms, the aim of this process is to ensure that quieter sounds are amplified so that you can hear them and that louder sounds can be identified as loud without being amplified to the point of discomfort.
This process is part of what differentiates prescription hearing aids from over-the-counter personal sound amplification products (PSAPs). These amplify everything, including loud noises, so they can create more hearing issues than they solve.
For completeness, some over-the-counter products can be customized, but the process can be very complicated. In fact, if you do choose to buy a customizable over the counter hearing aid, it may be best to have a proper audiologist program it for you.
Guidance on how to use your hearing aid
Before you leave the audiologist’s office, they will check that you are clear on how to use your hearing aid and have reasonable expectations of what to expect going forward. The key point to understand is that, for the time being at least, you cannot just turn on your hearing aid and have your old hearing back.
Just as your body adjusted gradually to your hearing loss, so it will need time to adjust to using your hearing aid. The adjustment period can be anything from a few days to a few months. Your audiologist will suggest ways to make the process easier and more efficient. For example, they may suggest listening to audiobooks and podcasts for practice.
It’s very common for audiologists to schedule a follow-up visit for a couple of weeks after you get the hearing aid. This allows them to get feedback from you and fine-tune your hearing aid’s settings if necessary.
If you’d like to learn more about hearing aids, please contact Grusecki Audiology & Hearing Aid Services at 623-583-1737.