It may have been your spouse or another loved one who finally convinced you to go see an audiologist. And it was that audiologist who diagnosed you with hearing loss and helped you pick out your hearing aid.
Now it’s time for your hearing aid fitting, a perfect time to bring in that same spouse or loved one who gave you that nudge in the first place. He or she can serve as a useful, second voice for your audiologist during the fitting process. Typically, there are four steps in a hearing aid fitting process.
Fitting the hearing devices
During the first step, your audiologist will physically fit the instruments to your ears. The audiologist will carefully inspect your ear canal, making sure the fit will result a comfortable fit. If the hearing aid does not fit comfortably within the ear canal, the audiologist will make adjustments as needed.
Programming the hearing aids
The next steps involved programming the instrument to your specific hearing needs. This step usually includes a real ear measure, a test during which the audiologist will examine the ear canal with an otoscope to make sure there is no earwax in the way of where the probe tube will be placed. Then, he or she will insert the thin probe tube into the ear canal, about 1/4 inch away from the tympanic membrane.
The probe tube is connected to a microphone, which measures the volume of sound near the eardrum, without a hearing aid. Next, the hearing aid is inserted into the ear.
Measuring the sound
After turning the hearing aid on, the audiologist uses a REM system to produce a sound a measure the volume of sound at the output of the hearing aid. The audiologist will play different volumes of sound, from soft to very loud, in order to determine that soft sounds are amplified loud enough to hear them, that moderate sounds are amplified to a comfortable level and that loud sounds do not exceed a comfortable level for you, the listener.
This test is vital to a successful hearing aid fitting. If these measures aren’t completed or accurate, then audiologist will not know if your hearing aids are programmed correctly. Once hearing aids are programmed correctly, your audiologist can easily review and care for your hearing aids.
What comes next
The last step in the hearing aid fitting includes instruction on insertion and removal of the instruments, cleaning and battery insertion and removal. Your audiologist will schedule another visit for follow-up care and to see if any adjustments will need to be made.