By Emily Steffel, AuD, CCC-A, Audiology Consultants, PC
Q: I know I have hearing loss and I want to do something about it. What are the steps I need to go through to get hearing aids?
A: The specific steps to getting hearing aids can vary slightly from person to person but they follow the same general pattern:
First: You will need to have your hearing officially tested to determine how much hearing loss you have and if the hearing loss is permanent (sensorineural) or temporary (conductive). Depending upon what your test results are you may need to follow up with your primary care doctor for medical treatment, or your doctor may refer you to an ENT, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.
Second: Once any medical treatment prescribed by your doctor has been completed, it is time to discuss hearing aids. The audiologist will talk about pros and cons of the various styles of hearing aids, colors of hearing aids, and hearing aid technology levels. They will ask you about your lifestyle and what situations cause you problems. They will help you to narrow down the many hearing aid options to a style and technology level that is a good fit for you. The audiologist will then take any measurements or molds of your ears that are needed to provide a comfortable hearing aid fit.
Third: Once your hearing aids arrive the audiologist will “fit” the hearing aids to you. They will use the help of a computer and special testing equipment, as well as feedback from you, to change how they sound in order to provide you with the best hearing possible. They will show you how the hearing aids work, how to change the batteries, how to take care of them. You will practice putting the hearing aids in and taking them out, as well as practice using any buttons and switches on the hearing aids.
Fourth: After you have had a chance to use the hearing aids in your day-to-day life you will come back for a couple appointments to make adjustments to your hearing aids. You may want more or less volume or may need more or less gain at certain pitches, depending on your situation. The audiologist will again ask you about any situations where you are having problems, and will adjust the hearing aids accordingly.
Fifth: Once you are feeling good about your hearing in your daily situations you will return to the audiologist periodically to have the hearing aids checked and cleaned. So, if you too are feeling like you aren’t hearing as well as you would like, do not hesitate to start these important steps. Life is too short to not hear well.
For more information about options for hearing loss, call Audiology Consultants, PC, at 563-355-7712 or visit www.audiologyconsultants.com.
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