How is a Hearing Aid Fitted?
People with hearing loss are regularly encouraged to attend hearing aid fittings. A hearing aid fitting is a process in which a hearing health professional helps you to select and set up a hearing aid. But what exactly happens during these sessions? And how do audiologists fit assistive hearing devices? Let’s look:
You’ll discuss different styles and technologies
Hearing aids, like practically all microelectronic devices, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, all with a slightly different focus. At the hearing aid fitting, you’ll discuss the type of hearing aid design most suited to your needs. For instance, if you play a lot of sport and want a hearing aid with no external components, you may discuss the option of wearing a completely-in-canal hearing aid with no external components. If, on the other hand, your hearing loss is severe, and you need maximum amplification, then a larger device might be necessary.
Your audiologist will also discuss with you the types of features that you’d like your new device to have. For some people, simple amplification is enough. But for others who want to benefit from the latest technology, additional functionality may appeal.
Not only can you now buy hearing aids with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, but many also come with smart software that adjusts settings according to your sound environment. If you regularly transition from noisy rooms full of people chatting to quiet spaces, then you could benefit from hearing aids with these dynamic technologies.
The audiologist will take an earmold
Your hearing aid must fit as comfortably as possible. If it is uncomfortable, then you might not wear it. Audiologists will take an impression of your ear to create an earmold – a custom piece of material which conforms to the contours of the outer ear. Once made, the audiologist attaches the hearing aid to the earmold so that you have a device that is custom-shaped to the shape of your body.
The audiologist will verify that the hearing aids provide the correct level of amplification
Setting up hearing aids can be tricky. Audiologists undergo extensive training which allows them to calibrate hearing aids for your needs. During a hearing aid fitting, the audiologist will pipe sounds through to your ears to check that the volume level and setting are correct for your hearing loss. He or she will then ask you to report when you can hear the sounds that they are playing and whether the amplification is comfortable or too loud. Sometimes hearing aid speakers are quite powerful.
Audiologists will often use what is called a real ear measure to make sure that a suitable level of sound is reaching the inner ear.
You’ll receive advice for how to look after your hearing aid
The last step in the process is for the audiologist to tell you how to use and look after your hearing aid. Assistive hearing devices are valuable pieces of kit and something that you’ll want to protect as you wear them long term.