Hearing is subjective and highly personal. What may sound fine to you may be too loud for someone else. Ears come in all shapes and sizes as well. That’s why the process of prescribing and dispensing hearing aids takes several appointments. At your first appointment your hearing was tested, and if an earmold was required, a cast was made. Your hearing aids were ordered from the manufacturer and you went home to await their arrival. The next appointment is your hearing aid fitting. Here’s what to expect at this appointment.

Otoscopic examination

By now you are familiar with the otoscope. This is the small instrument with a light that is used by the audiologist to peer into your ears. Your hearing aid fitting will start with a quick otoscopic examination of your ear. The audiologist will be checking for excess earwax and getting a quick look at the shape of your ear canal. This will come in handy during the real ear measure portion of the fitting.

Physical fit is checked

If your hearing aid style requires an earmold, an impression was made at the last appointment. At this appointment, the audiologist will ensure that the mold fits your ear correctly. The audiologist will insert the earmold and check the fit. Then you will insert and remove the earmold several times under the direction of the audiologist. If the earmold doesn’t fit well or is uncomfortable, it will need to be remade. An ill-fitting earmold can cause whistling or other feedback problems.

Real ear measurement

During this portion of the fitting, the audiologist will check that the hearing aids were programmed properly and adjust them to perfectly fit your hearing needs and personal preferences. During this process, the audiologist will insert your hearing aid. Then they will run a very small tube next to your hearing aid. This tube will stop between the earmold and the eardrum. The tube will connect to a tiny microphone outside the ear. This equipment and special software allow the audiologist to see how the hearing aid is transmitting sound to the ear. Any fine-tuning adjustments can be made during this process, so you get the best hearing experience possible.

Care instructions

Before your appointment is over, the audiologist will show you how to properly care for your hearing aids. These tiny miracles of technology require daily cleaning and should be kept as dry as possible. You will learn how to use a drying box or other means to store your hearing aids at night as well as how to change the batteries. You’ll practice putting your hearing aids in and turning them on and off. If you have multiple programs or settings, you’ll practice using these as well.

Adjustment instructions

Wearing hearing aids requires a period of adjustment. Just like starting with contacts, you will wear your hearing aids for longer periods of time each day. The audiologist will go over instructions for the adjustment period and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled before you leave.

If you have any questions during the fitting appointment, be sure to speak up. Successfully wearing hearing aids begins at the fitting appointment.