The most common signs of hearing loss include frequently mishearing people, feeling as though those around you are mumbling, turning up the TV much louder than others prefer and having difficulty talking on the phone. If this sounds like you, you should schedule a hearing test as soon as possible.
If your hearing test reveals a loss of hearing, your audiologist will likely recommend hearing aids as treatment. The process of selecting a hearing aid, getting it programmed and adjusting to the device is known as a hearing aid fitting.
Selecting a Hearing Aid
The results of your hearing loss are charted on an audiogram, which is essentially a visual representation of your hearing loss. Audiograms show exactly how loud sounds have to be in each frequency range for you to hear them.
If your audiogram indicates you have a mild hearing loss, you can wear a small, discreet hearing aid like an invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) or completely-in-the-canal (CIC) device. If your hearing loss is more severe, your audiologist will recommend a more powerful hearing aid, like a behind-the-ear device.
Choosing Your Features
Another step in the selection process is choosing what features you want. Your audiologist will discuss what features are available to you, such as:
- Bluetooth compatibility.
- Smartphone connectivity.
- Automatic programming.
- Background noise reduction.
- Directional microphones.
They’ll then ask you about your lifestyle needs so that they can assess which features you’ll actually benefit from. For example, someone who frequently attends concerts at The Triple Door will need different features than someone whose main social interaction is a quiet book club.
Programming the Hearing Aid
The next step is to program the hearing aid. Again, your audiologist will use your audiogram, as well as a special computer program, to ensure the settings on the hearing aid allow you to hear all the frequencies you’re missing at a volume you can detect.
Adjusting to the Hearing Aid
Since you’ve likely gone years without treating your hearing loss, your brain will need time to re-learn how to hear all the sounds you’ve been missing. This is why your audiologist will recommend you start out by wearing your hearing aids for just a couple hours each day.
If over the first few weeks you’re still having trouble hearing certain sounds, or if some sounds are uncomfortably loud, return to your audiologist to have your hearing aids re-programmed. Remember, hearing in a sound booth is much different than hearing in the real world. Since you’re visiting an audiologist for a hearing test, you should trust their expertise when it comes to selecting, programming and adjusting your hearing aid.
For more information about hearing aid fittings or to schedule an appointment with a hearing aid expert, call Evergreen Speech & Hearing Inc today.