Approximately 38 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss. Of these, 28.8 million, aged 20-69, would benefit from wearing hearing aids, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Experiencing hearing loss is the result of the degradation of your inner ear health. When the damage is irreparable, your audiologist can recommend wearing hearing aids. The choice of hearing aids to correct your condition is a process that requires a fitting appointment. Indeed, anybody who is experiencing hearing disorders for the first time may not be familiar with the different steps involved in a hearing aid fitting.

The appointment lasts approximately one to two hours, depending on your questions and situation. The fitting is all about ensuring the hearing aids you’ve chosen with your audiologist fit your lifestyle and your needs.

What happens before the appointment?

Your fitting appointment happens after you’ve already developed a trust relationship with your audiologist. Indeed, hearing aid fitting is the final step of thorough hearing test measurements, during which your hearing ability is monitored closely. Your audiologist needs to understand not only the different types of pitches and volumes of sound that you can hear comfortably to measure precisely what can be gained with hearing aid fitting. Various hearing aids are available to provide an adequate level of amplification for your day-to-day life. During these appointments, your audiologist will not only test your auditory abilities in different listening environments but also discuss your specific lifestyle and requirements. Indeed, each patient has unique needs, based not only on their routine but also their professional environment and communication preferences. At this point, earmold impressions can be taken depending on your choice of hearing aid pieces. The hearing aid fitting appointment is scheduled only after your audiologist has taken the relevant measures of your ears, hearing and needs.

Your hearing aid is customized to your needs

The fitting appointment allows the audiologist to verify that the chosen hearing aids are suitably set for your situation. Therefore, audiologists use real-ear measures at this stage of the process to ensure you receive the correct amount of sound amplification by inserting a thin tube into your ear canal. It will measure the volume of each sound with and without hearing aid. Your audiologist uses the results of your hearing test to program your hearing aids specifically to suit your needs. The hearing aid fitting test ensures you get the right level of correction and amplification for both soft and loud sounds without affecting the health of your eardrums. Indeed, over-correcting – aka playing sounds louder than they need to be – could further damage your inner ear. Undercorrection, however, makes the hearing aids useless.

You learn how to care for your hearing aids

Once the hearing aids are programmed and checked, the audiologist will review with you the necessary care and maintenance steps. It is the most informative phase of your hearing aid fitting, and you might find that you need to take notes. Patients who have never worn hearing aids will learn all the basics regarding the insertion and removal of the devices. Changing the batteries or learning how to recharge the batteries – depending on models – is detrimental to your daily use. Most audiologists ensure their patients receive educational brochures from the hearing aids manufacturers that detail not only the basic care routine but also the warranty situation. Additionally, now is the time for you to ask questions about storing and cleaning your devices. Indeed, you can’t afford to let your hearing aids get clogged by earwax. Regular cleaning is essential to your hearing comfort.

Will you be ready to enjoy your hearing aids immediately?

The hearing aid fitting appointment is the beginning of your hearing correction journey. For a lot of people who experience varying degrees of hearing loss, it can take time to get used to new levels of sound amplification and correction. You can discuss with your audiologist the best getting-used practice for your situation. Typically, people can find it overwhelming at first. Therefore, many audiologists recommend gradually extending the wear period of your hearing aids during the first couple of weeks. You can start with a few hours and increase your wear time to a full day. People with mild to severe hearing loss need to adjust to their new hearing routine to make the most of their hearing aids.

There’s more to your hearing aid fitting appointment than inserting aids into your ears. The appointment is designed to help you embrace the improvements hearing aids can make to your life.