If you suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus, or any condition related to your ears, it’s likely that hearing aids will be required. Visiting a professional doctor of audiology or hearing instrument specialist to complete the hearing aid fitting appointment is essential.
Before doing this, though, you’ll want to learn more about the process and how hearing aids will fit in your ears. Here’s all you need to know about the hearing aid fitting procedure.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEARING AIDS
Modern hearing aids are available in various shapes, sizes, and styles. As such, finding the perfect device for your personal hearing requirements, lifestyle, and comfort should not be too difficult. Starting with the right style is the essential first step.
The audiologist or hearing instrument specialist can discuss a range of options including different brands and features, but hearing aids are categorized by the following types:
- Behind the ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids are perhaps the most commonly recognized and have a unit that sits behind the ear while tubing transmits sounds to the earpiece speaker.
- In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids fit completely inside the outer part of the ear bowl and include a hard casing for the electronics, as well as the speaker, which sits in the ear canal.
- In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids are the small, almost invisible hearing aids that are placed into the ear. They can also include completely-in-canal (CIC) devices and invisible in canal (IIC), which are even smaller.
There are many variants of each, in technologically advanced models.
The physical fit
After gaining an accurate diagnosis and deciding which type of hearing aid you think is best, the audiologist or hearing aid specialist will be primarily focused on two main issues – the sound, and the fit.
For the physical fit, the audiologist or hearing instrument specialist is likely to follow a four-part strategy:
- Study the audiogram: While you may have a personal preference, the audiologist or hearing instrument specialist needs to analyze the audiogram to check which types of hearing aid devices are actually suited to your type and severity of hearing loss.
- Discuss your needs: The audiologist or hearing instrument specialist wants to ensure that the hearing aids are also suited to your personal requirements. Whether your lifestyle has unique needs or you suffer from health issues like arthritis, these factors can have a telling impact on your experience of wearing hearing aids.
- Measure your ears: If you are using behind-the-ear hearing aids, it’s important to gain an accurate measurement of the distance between your ear tip to the area behind your ear. This measurement is obtained by using a small tool and will determine how long the ear wire on any device needs to be.
- Select an earmold: The earmold that sits inside the ear is an integral part of the hearing aid, particularly in relation to the ongoing comfort. Soft silicone instant domes are one option, although the hearing care professional may also suggest a custom-made device that can be made from a soft or hard plastic. Depending on the type of earmold that’s needed, an impression may need to be taken.
The fitting sound process
The hearing aid fitting appointment isn’t only about establishing a comfortable fit. It’s equally important to ensure that the sound provided by the device will be up to the desired standard.
To complete this part of the procedure, the hearing care professional will use a three-part process:
- Program and calibrate: The audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will set the hearing aid’s software to ensure that it is adjusted to your type of hearing loss. The advanced software can measure acoustics, as well as how hearing aids react in those situations.
- Hearing test: The next step is to confirm that the hearing aid actually performs as expected. Another hearing test will be conducted, but with the hearing aids. This will confirm that the sound is correct while also highlighting the contrast between wearing and not wearing them.
- Final adjustments: Minor changes may be used to ensure that the device is fully tailored to your specific needs. This is a key element of the hearing aid fitting appointment, and will show you how to adjust the volume and other key elements.
The audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will also discuss troubleshooting, battery changes, and other issues that may be encountered during your time of wearing hearing aids. Sustained comfort and improved hearing is essential.
Take the next steps today
To learn more about hearing aids fitting appointments and more, call one of our convenient locations today 1-888-553-7520.