Getting your first hearing aid fitted can be daunting, especially if you don't know what to expect. If you want to make sure your fitting goes as smoothly and successfully as possible, here are three factors you'll need to keep in mind.
1. The severity of your hearing loss
The first thing to consider is the severity of your hearing loss, as this will determine what happens at your first hearing aid appointment. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you'll likely be fitted with BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids. These typically work off the shelf, so your fitting will be completed in one appointment. However, if you have severe hearing loss, you may need an in-the-ear (ITE) or completely-in-the-canal (CIC) style, as these provide a better seal, thus better amplifying sound. As such, if you have severe hearing loss, keep in mind that your first hearing aid fitting appointment will likely involve creating a custom mould of your ears to get the perfect fit for your ITE or CIC hearing aids. Once they've been made to fit you, your audiologist will call you back in for a second fitting appointment to get them up and running.
2. The hearing aid
Whether you're opting for a BTE, ITE or CIC hearing aid, the exact brand and model you choose will influence how your appointment goes. If you choose one of the more modern hearing aids on the market, you may want to be prepared for a longer appointment. Today's hearing aids have several new features that can greatly improve the quality of your daily life, but you'll need to sit through an explanation on how to use them from your audiologist. For example, a Bluetooth hearing aid can connect to your smartphone or computer, but only if you know how to use it properly.
3. The audiologist
The third and arguably most important factor involved is the audiologist you choose. For the best chances of success, you'll want to find a reputable audiologist with a Masters in Clinical Audiology--the minimum requirement for accreditation in Australia. Some other things to look out for are a range of hearing tests and hearing aid brands on offer, as this indicates that your audiologist is comprehensive and ready to treat all types and degrees of hearing loss. On top of this, try to look for an audiologist who is compassionate and always happy to explain. Getting hearing aids fitted for the first time can be an experience filled with questions, so you want to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and helps you understand the process from start to finish. An audiologist like this will help every fitting appointment be successful.
Reach out to a local audiologist to learn more about hearing aids.