Like many medical maladies, the process for solving hearing loss can be a lengthy one. Hearing loss requires proper diagnosis, accomplished through a series of tests, choosing the right hearing aids and making sure the hearing aids are properly fitted. The hearing aid fitting is one of the most important steps of the process. The appointment, which can last between one and two hours, often involves four steps.

1. Assessing the hearing aid fit

The first step in a hearing aid fitting appointment is the assessment of the physical fit of the instruments. It is important to ensure the hearing aids fit within the ear canal comfortably, to help entice individuals to wear them. Your audiologist will take ample time to ensure your hearing aids fit snugly, but not too tightly within the ear canal. Wearing hearing aids should not cause pain.

2. Programming hearing aid settings

Like most technology, hearing aids require programming. Your devices are generic but will be programmed to fit your specific type and degree of hearing loss, as well as your lifestyle needs. The audiologist will program the devices, usually with a computer, and make tweaks as necessary.

3. Testing for accuracy

After the audiologist programs the hearing aids, they will need to assess that they are programmed accurately. To do so, you will undergo one more test, called a real ear or probe measure test. During this assessment, a small microphone tube will placed in the ear canal, along with the hearing aid. Tones or speech will be played for you to respond to; from the responses, the audiologist will be able to determine how well the hearing aids are tuned for your specific type and degree of hearing loss.

4. Learning about your hearing aid

Before leaving your hearing aid fitting, your audiologist will instruct you on how to use, care for and maintain your hearing aids. You will learn how to insert, turn on/off the aids and how to initiate any special programs or features. Additionally, you will know how to clean and properly care for your hearing aids to ensure the devices’ longevity. Lastly, you will learn how to check and replace batteries.

At the end of the hearing aid fitting, you should understand how your hearing aids work for you and how you can ensure they continue working well for years to come. Your audiologist will also provide you with a schedule for wearing your new aids and will also schedule a follow up appointment to make sure they continue to work well for you.