What is the Hearing Aid Fitting Process?
If you've been diagnosed with hearing loss, your audiologist likely recommended hearing aids as the best form of treatment. These devices can offer an incredibly tailored experience, but in order to achieve these results, a hearing aid fitting is required.
The hearing aid fitting is one of the most important appointments you will have on your journey to better hearing. During this visit with your audiologist, you will learn how to properly use your devices, how to maintain and care for them, in addition to how the different settings and features work. To ensure you get this custom experience, your audiologist will likely perform the following;
An introduction to the fitting process
The fitness process is designed to ensure that your hearing aids are correctly fitted and are suitable for your needs. It takes place after your audiologist has placed the order for your chosen hearing aids; when the device arrives, you can then attend your first fitting appointment.
The role of the subjective questionnaires
Your audiologist will usually ask you to fill out a subjective questionnaire at the start of your fitting. This provides a baseline for your current hearing experiences that subsequent questionnaires – which are completed after you have been using hearing aids for a period of time – can be compared to.
Real ear measurements
With the questionnaires complete, you will then move to the physical fitting of the hearing aids themselves. While you are wearing your hearing aids, your audiologist will review settings – such as checking the microphones are facing in the right direction – before moving on to a process called real ear measurements.
Real ear measurements allow audiologists to check the amplification of sounds in your ear canal, which helps to verify that your hearing aid is working as it should. The first measurements are taken when you are not wearing a hearing aid. A tube, which is connected to a microphone, is inserted in the ear. Your audiologist will then use a nearby speaker to play a series of sounds at different volumes and frequencies. Measurements will be taken in order to assess the volume of sound close to your eardrum.
When the first measurements have been taken, your hearing aid will be put in place while the tube microphone is still in place. A second set of measurements will then be taken to measure how loud sound is in the ear while you are wearing your hearing aids; these measurements can then confirm your hearing aid is providing sufficient amplification for your degree of hearing loss.
Full usage instructions
With real ear measurements confirming that your hearing aid is delivering the expected amplification, your audiologist will then guide you through the process of using and living with your hearing aid. This involves discussing:
- How to insert and remove your hearing aids
- How to change the batteries on your device
- How the device should be stored
- Maintenance and cleaning tips
The goal of this portion of the fitting is to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident operating your device.
An explanation of what to expect during the first few weeks of usage
Your audiologist will then provide an overview of what you should expect from the first weeks of using your hearing aid, including tips on how frequently you should wear your device initially and anything that may help you with the adjustment to using hearing aids.
Arranging a follow-up appointment
With your hearing aid now properly fitted and ready to be used, the last step of the appointment is to arrange a follow-up. The purpose of a follow-up is to check that your experience of using your hearing aids is proceeding as it should, and to give you the chance to take a second subjective questionnaire in order to analyze the improvements and benefits you are receiving from your device.
Your audiologist will advise you on the recommended time span between your first appointment and your follow-up but expect to return within the next 14-30 days.
Whether you're in the process of selecting your first hearing aid or replacing an existing device, always make sure to schedule a fitting appointment with an audiologist. In doing so, you can be sure that your hearing aid will be able to perform to the best of its abilities and deliver its full range of benefits to you.
If you would like to learn more about what kind of hearing aid fitting experience you will have at Hearing Solution Center, talk with one of our friendly staff members by calling 704-912-4422.