Hearing Aid Dispensing and Fitting
Once you have selected your hearing aids after an evaluation, your hearing professional will program them, based on a prescription, to meet your hearing needs. The prescription is a formula that ensures that the hearing aids maximize comprehension, at the same time it minimizes distracting noises. This prescription should always be verified objectively. The gold standard for hearing aid verification is called Real Ear Measurement, otherwise known as REM. This tool, requires that the professional place a sound pressure meter a few millimeters from the ear drum so that they can verify that it is meeting your prescription. The formula doesn't take into consideration the normal variation in tolerance of loudness among different patients. So, the professional should also make adjustments to the subjective loudness of your hearing aids so that normal conversational speech sounds comfortable before you leave the office with your new hearing aids. If the professional has to make a large deviation from the prescriptive formula, then they will reassess your tolerance for loudness at subsequent follow ups.
After fitting the hearing aids, the hearing professional will make sure that you know how to use the devices, how to put them in the ear and how to remove them, how to change or charge batteries and how to care for and clean the devices. If they are bluetooth compatible, they will be paired with your phone. This appointment will generally take at least one hour, possibly more, so ensure you allot enough time. It is also a good idea to bring a family member or close friend to the hearing aid fitting so they can help remember all the information that is given and be a support to you. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for written instructions, which can help you better retain the information.
Understanding your hearing aids
When you put the hearing aids in for the first time, you may have different emotions about the sounds you hear. This is normal and to be expected. The goal of the hearing aid is to make everyday sounds audible and comfortable, but the sound you hear should be clear and pleasant. Small changes can be made to the hearing aids at your first fitting if there are things that you feel should be adjusted right away. The hearing professional should do additional testing to make sure that the hearing aids are giving you enough sound where you need it. Additionally, remember to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you may have with your professional.
Adjusting to hearing aids
Attitude is one important key to success with hearing aids. Hearing aid studies have shown that people who have a positive attitude do better with hearing aids. If you, as well as your spouse or family, approach your hearing aid fitting with a positive outlook you will have a much better listening experience more quickly. It is important that the significant other of someone who is hearing impaired to help encourage their partner to seek the help that they need rather than make ultimatums or threats. Let's face it hearing aids aren't the perfect solution, and someone who is cornered in to the decision to use hearing aids by a partners threats are rarely successful. After you get your new hearing aids, keep in mind that it may take some time to get used to the sounds you were missing, and by working closely with your hearing professional, you will get the most out of your new hearing aids. Finally, headaches or dizziness after being fit with hearing aids are never normal. So, please call your hearing professional right away if you are experiencing these symptoms.