What to expect at your hearing aid fitting

It is our job as audiologists to make the process of getting a hearing aid as seamless as possible and that you are comfortable with the procedure and all your concerns and questions are addressed.

 What to expect at your hearing aid fitting Image

At Beacon Audiology we do a comprehensive audiological assessment in a soundproof booth. An accurate hearing test can only be carried out in a soundproof booth. So, in order for your hearing aid to be programmed optimally we need your exact hearing thresholds across the whole frequency range.

Your audiologist will then explain the results of your hearing test in detail, and how your particular hearing loss may be affecting your hearing in various situations. You will also understand why you have less difficulty in one-to-one quiet situations and why you have more difficulty in noisy group situations.

Your audiologist will then make recommendations of what particular hearing aid is suited to your degree and type of hearing loss as well as matching this recommendation with your personal preferences for a type of hearing aid.

It's important to remember that wearing a discreet hearing aid that no one else notices, is much less noticeable than constantly asking people to repeat themselves.

But most importantly, hearing loss causes cognitive drain. By this we mean that when you have a hearing loss, your brain is working much harder at hearing than it should be. This causes fatigue as well as taking away from other brain functions like memory and concentration.

What happens during the fitting?

A hearing aid fitting usually takes between 45-60 minutes. Your audiologist will have a good look in your ear to make sure that it is safe to proceed with the hearing aid fitting. Any ear wax will be removed at this time.

During the hearing aid fitting your audiologist will firstly program the hearing aid to your exact thresholds and make adjustments to the loudness and clarity of speech and environmental sounds. You will, at all times be giving feedback in terms of the comfort of the sound as well as the comfort of the hearing aid in your ear.

Once you are happy with the sound and all adjustments have been made, your audiologist will then demonstrate how to insert your hearing aid, how to clean and maintain it as well as how to use the hearing aid together with any accessories that have been provided. Your audiologist will also connect your hearing aids to your phone if required as well as demonstrate all Bluetooth capabilities.

When you leave the hearing aid fitting appointment you should be comfortable with using your hearing aid. An appointment for a hearing aid review will be made for 2-4 weeks after your fitting where additional adjustments will be made and any questions or concerns answered.

Do different hearing aids have different fitting procedures?

If you are having a custom made in-the-ear hearing aid, an impression of your ear will be taken so that your hearing aid is made exactly to the specifications of your individual ear. Custom in the ear hearing aids are unique to your ear, so when a custom made hearing aid is fitted for the first time is important that the hearing aid fits well, is comfortable and has the desired cosmetic appearance.

If you have chosen an open fit receiver in the canal hearing aid (RIC), your audiologist would have discussed your preference of colour, specifications as well as rechargeable or battery options. Behind the ear hearing aids, if rechargeable would have been charged prior to your appointment. The components of the hearing aid are selected to provide a discreet comfortable fit.

The fitting procedure and programming of the hearing aid following this initial stage, is basically the same for all types of hearing aids. Your audiologist will adjust the volume and clarity to make sure that you are comfortable with the amplified sound. Real ear measurements will be carried out in order to verify the fitting.

Once all the programming has been done, your audiologist will give you the opportunity to try and insert and remove the hearing aid yourself, demonstrate cleaning and care of your hearing aid as well as connect your hearing aid to your phone and to your hearing aid app via Bluetooth.

How long does it take to get used to a wearing a hearing aid?

The success of wearing a hearing aid is directly dependent on the amount of time that the hearing aid is worn. After a week of an adjustment period and getting used to putting in the hearing aid, you should be wearing your hearing aid most of the waking day.

By wearing a hearing aid all day, your brain will start to ignore unimportant sounds like footsteps, dishes clanging, newspaper folding, taps dripping etc. and start focusing on speech. This process is called habituation. We know the brain can habituate, for example people living on a busy road or working in an office with a clock ticking or living near an airport eventually don't hear these sounds or are not distracted by them, simply because their brains have learned to ignore these sounds and focus on conversation.

What happens at the follow up appointment after the initial hearing aid fitting?

When you return for your first follow-up appointment you would have worn the hearing aid for a couple of weeks and you may have taken some notes on sounds that are too loud, too sharp, not enough clarity, problems in background noise or or any issues you may have had with putting in the hearing aid, cleaning it or any technical difficulties.

Your audiologist will make all the necessary adjustments so that the sound is comfortable and improved, demonstrate cleaning and care as well as any Bluetooth connectivity and answer any questions you may have.

Getting used to a hearing aid takes time but if you are patient and have realistic expectations, your hearing aid success will consistently improve over time.