While reading about what to expect from your upcoming hearing exam, you might have come across the term hearing aid fitting and wondered what it meant. After all, a hearing aid either fits you or it doesn’t, right? What else is there to do?
There’s much more to a hearing aid fitting than just how it fits in your ear (although physical fit is important). Because of how it all ties together, the hearing aid selection, calibration, and follow-up process all full under the umbrella of hearing aid fitting. Together, it’s the next important step after your audiologist determines you could benefit from hearing aids.
Phase 1: the hearing aid selection process
The hearing aid selection process starts with your hearing test results, which will show which type and level of hearing loss you have. This influences the style your audiologist will recommend for you. For instance, if you have severe hearing loss, larger behind-the-ear (BTE) styles are a better choice since they’re powerful enough to support more channels and features.
Your audiologist will also gather more information from you to help narrow down your selection. They’ll ask about your personal preferences, lifestyle and hobbies, and what (if any) experience you’ve had with hearing aids in the past. These details help an audiologist fit you with a hearing aid that doesn’t just help you hear, but helps you live life to the fullest.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices and decided on a hearing aid, your audiologist will take any additional measurements (like earmold impressions) and order your hearing aid. Finally, you’ll be scheduled for a follow-up fitting when your hearing aid arrives.
Phase 2: follow-up calibration and fitting
When your hearing aid arrives, your audiologist will make sure it’s programmed to your hearing specifications and have you try it on to test for fit and sound quality. This part of the fitting process is very important, since it gives you the immediate opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback while an audiologist is there to help. You’ll also be taught how to use your hearing aid, adjust it for different environments, and how to care for it.
The follow-up fitting appointment isn’t the last step in your new experience with hearing aids. To make sure you’re adjusting well and your hearing aid is still calibrated properly, your audiologist will want to see you back in a few weeks. Going forward, you’ll have the opportunity to return for adjustments anytime you need to.
A hearing aid fitting isn’t just about a physical fit – it’s about all aspects of how your new hearing aid fits with your lifestyle. Don’t skip this important step!