Getting a hearing aid
How is a hearing aid fitted?
To ensure the success of your hearing aid fitting, first things must happen first.
Prior to your hearing aid fitting appointment with your audiologist, ensure you have:
1. First and foremost, your audiologist will show you the hearing aid and explain each part of the device. They will then check that the hearing aid feels comfortable on, or in, your ear. This is a basic, but important component of long-term success. When you first start out with hearing aids, you might find that your ear gets a little itchy for the first week or so. This is normal, and will go away for most people over time.
2. The hearing aid must be a good fit for you. If the hearing aid is too loose in your ear, it may start to whistle. If the wire or tube is too long, it might fall off your ear. If it is too short, it can cause pain.
3. A feedback test must be run. If a feedback test is not run on your hearing aid, there is a chance that the aid will whistle. Whistling is usually completely avoidable with modern, properly-fitted hearing aids.
4. "Objective verification": Also called 'Real Ear Measures', this step is crucial in ensuring success of your fitting. It is the way in which an audiologist assesses what sound you are getting, and is able to make fine tuning adjustments to match your prescription.
5. "Subjective verification": How does it all sound to you?
6. Options within the hearing aid itself will be explained to you, and based on your listening needs, the audiologist might add special functions for you. The sounds of the hearing aid warnings and indicators will be demonstrated.
7. You will be guided through the care and maintenance of the hearing aid, and practice putting it in your ear.
After your hearing aid fitting appointment, you will be seen for consultation on a regular basis . You will be asked about what's going well and what's not going well; what goals are being met, and which ones aren't. Your questions and concerns will be addressed and you will be reminded of what the hearing aid can and cannot do - and how you can compensate with effective communication strategies.
A successful hearing aid fitting takes time - for some people it is a week, for others it can take months. This is because your brain takes time to adjust to sound. Simply by wearing the hearing aids, some of your brain cells are being stimulated - even if you're not speaking with anyone.
Our brains are amazing, but sometimes it can take a couple of months to really adapt to the sound of the hearing aid.
Be patient and work closely with your audiologist - the rewards will be well worth it.