Hearing aids provide the most help when they are properly adjusted and fitted. To get your hearing instruments properly programmed, you’ll go to a hearing aid fitting appointment.
This appointment lasts between one and two hours, during which your audiologist will ensure the hearing aids provide the correct amount of amplification to your ears. Your audiologist will program your hearing aids based on the results of the audiogram, or hearing test, conducted during your prior appointment to ensure they meet the needs of your specific type and degree of hearing loss.
The audiologist will need to perform one more assessment to test the accuracy and efficacy of your hearing aids. This test is called a real-ear measure. The test gauges whether the hearing aids are performing accurately in your ears by measuring the sounds entering the hearing aids. The test uses speech or a calibrated tone that you will be asked to react to, for example, by raising your hand or pressing a button. You might find the sound is too loud, too quiet or just right.
Based on the results of the real-ear measure, your audiologist may tweak the programming of your hearing aids, fine-turning the amplification based on your individual preferences and unique listening environments. It is wise to expect this process to be rather lengthy; as it is often an audiologist will program the hearing aids perfectly the first time. It takes time and finessing to make sure your hearing aids are working right just for you.
To ensure your hearing aids are working well, you will have a follow-up appointment with your audiologist approximately six weeks after your hearing aid fitting is complete. During that first period with your hearing aids, there’s a chance they will require some adjustment upon your follow-up visit, especially if this is your first time wearing hearing aids of any kind. Again, to set your expectations accurately, it’s best to assume your hearing aids will need to be adjusted a few times to get the perfect sound experience.
The reason why it often takes multiple attempts to adjust your hearing aids so they fit just right is because your brain is relearning how to hear sounds it hasn’t heard for a long time. Like a muscle that is working out for the first time in a while, your brain will likely need some time to catch up to the new sounds it is hearing. Depending on how long you’ve been with hearing loss, your audiologist will provide a schedule determining when and how long you should wear your hearing aids.