What is the Hearing Aid Fitting Process?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, then your audiologist may have booked a hearing aid fitting. The purpose of the hearing aid fitting is to set up your hearing aid correctly so that you can get the most utility from it as possible. The better the match between you and your new assistive hearing device, the higher your quality of life.
But what exactly is involving a hearing aid fitting? What’s the process?
Selecting a hearing aid
The first step of the hearing aid fitting process is to select a hearing aid that is suitable for your level of hearing loss and lifestyle.
Hearing test results
Step one in the hearing aid fitting process is to discuss the results of your hearing test, usually conducted at an earlier date. Your audiologist will give you a breakdown of what they discovered and which types of hearing aid might be the most beneficial. People with mild hearing loss, can often benefit from small, in-the-ear devices. These hearing aids are discreet, and some are invisible. Those who struggle to hear types of sound might need hearing aids with many channels which can selectively amplify incoming sounds at a specific frequency.
The next step is to talk about your lifestyle. Again, how you spend your time will affect the type of hearing aid that is most suitable for you. If you love technology and want to hook up your gadgets directly to your hearing aids, then you’ll need connectivity options. By contrast, if you play a lot of contact sport, you may need hearing aids that fit entirely within the ear to prevent them from becoming damaged.
Your personal preferences
Some people prefer hearing aids that are easy to remove at night. If you’re among them, then you’ll want to choose a device that you can easily remove with your fingers. Others prefer to wear discreet hearing aids that have no visible exterior components but may require special assistance to remove. Again, your audiologist will be able to talk you through your options.
Once the audiologist collects all the information that they need, they are in a much better position to help you choose a hearing aid that meets your needs. Sometimes it might be necessary to make a compromise – such as choosing a smaller device with fewer features – but it’s not common. Modern hearing aids are highly sophisticated electronics that are improving all the time.
Fitting the hearing aid
The fitting of the hearing aid can be divided into two parts. The first is making sure the device physically fits the ear. The second is checking the sound quality.
Some hearing aids use a small tube that slots into the ear with the main unit sitting behind the ear. These receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids are easier to fit but still require customization. Your audiologist will measure the length between the behind-the-ear (BTE) unit and the receiver to determine the optimal length of tubing.
If your hearing aid comes into direct contact with the ear canal, then you’ll need an earmold. The earmold is a custom-made piece of material which precisely conforms to the shape of your outer ear. Audiologists recommend that people use earmolds to maximize comfort, encouraging the wearing of devices. During the fitting you may have an earmold taken, depending on the kind of hearing aid that you choose.
The second part of the fitting process is calibrating the hearing aid and making sure that it delivers the correct level of amplification. It’s worth mentioning that even though audiologists use a variety of sophisticated techniques, it takes time to set up a hearing aid properly. It’s not uncommon for people to make multiple trips to the doctor’s office to fine-tune their devices.
Audiologists use something called a real ear measurement. This test uses a special device to check that the volume delivered by the hearing aid is enough to help you hear better. Often audiologists need independent verification that the device is working correctly. Issues in your ear or the position of the device could be affecting performance.
Living with hearing aids
Finally, your audiologist will talk to you about living with hearing aids. You’ll get advice and education on the following:
- Adjusting the settings on your device
- Linking your device to other electronic equipment in your home
- Help with getting used to wearing hearing aids
- How to look after your hearing aid
- When to come back for a checkup
If you’d like to learn more about hearing aid fittings, get in touch with us today. Call Bowles Hearing Care Services PC in Charlotte at 704-334-4428, Hickory at 828-322-7025, Mooresville at 704-660-9188 or Huntersville at 704-274-5299.