Typically, in order to be prescribed a hearing aid, you need to undertake a hearing aid evaluation. This is usually carried out by an audiologist at a hearing clinic.
Hearing aid evaluations are pretty straightforward. Your audiologist will guide you through the process and will help you find the right hearing aid. However, you will need to give feedback through the process. This post outlines some of the steps involved when undertaking a hearing aid evaluation and the types of questions you should be asking.
The Hearing Test
A hearing test will determine if you have hearing loss – and, if so, to what extent. An audiologist will use the results to determine your prescription and the best type of hearing aid for you.
Hearing tests are typically carried out in a soundproofed room. You will usually be asked to put on headphones, at which point you will be asked to listen to a series of sounds, alerting the audiologist each time you hear a sound by either pressing a button or putting your hand up. The results are plotted on an audiogram, which then determines your hearing prescription.
Feel free to ask your audiologist questions about the test. You will usually be able to discuss the results afterwards.
Choosing The Right Hearing Aid
Your audiologist will look at the results and will then determine whether you need a hearing aid. You’ll then be shown various styles and models of hearing aid to choose from.
Some of the different styles of hearing aid include:
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: These hearing aids are positioned in the outer bowl. They tend to have a medium sized battery and may come with certain controls. They are fairly visible.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids: These hearing aids are positioned behind the ear. They often have a much larger battery and more accessible controls. They can be the most visible form of hearing aid depending on the size and how much hair you have.
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: The hearing aids are positioned in the canal. They are much smaller and so have a much smaller battery and tend not to have any controls on them, however they are the most discreet form of hearing aid.
An audiologist may recommend a particular style based on the severity of your hearing loss and your preferences. Make sure to be vocal about any concerns you may have about certain types of hearing aid. A few questions you may want to ask during this period include:
- What is the battery life of this hearing aid?
- How do I clean and maintain this hearing aid?
- Does this hearing aid come in any other styles or sizes?
- How much will this hearing aid cost – and how much will the batteries cost?
- What payment plans do you offer?
Fitting The Hearing Aid
Once you have chosen a hearing aid, you can then try fitting the hearing aid to see how comfortable it is. An audiologist will show you how to attach it to your ear as well as how to turn it on and off. You’ll also be told how to replace batteries and how to use any other controls it may have.
Make sure to speak up if your hearing aid is not comfortable. If you have any concerns on how to use the hearing aid or how to clean it and replace batteries, make sure to also address these concerns during this stage.
A follow-up appointment may be arranged to check how you are getting on with your hearing aid. After taking time to get accustomed to your hearing aid, you may notice issues or there may be concerns you have about how to look after your hearing aid or batteries. This follow-up appointment is a chance to address any problems or concerns you may have.
Most people find that they are able to get on well with their hearing aid. However, others can struggle to use a hearing aid. In some cases, a new prescription may be recommended such as a different style of hearing aid or one that has been re-molded for comfort. By working with your audiologist, you can solve any problems you may have.