If your hearing has been gradually declining as you age, you may suspect you need a hearing aid. A hearing aid can often improve the quality of your life by making it easier to understand conversations and hear the television. However, the first step is to have an evaluation by an audiologist to see if you have hearing loss and if a hearing aid will help. Here's how that process might work.
Undergo Hearing Tests
There are a variety of hearing tests an audiologist can give you that measure your degree of hearing loss and identify the type of loss you have. You might hear volume okay but have trouble distinguishing sounds. On the other hand, you might have volume loss too. Knowing your type of hearing loss is important so the proper hearing device can be chosen for you.
Discuss Hearing Aid Options
Once the testing is over, the audiologist will know what type of hearing aid you need and if you need just one or an aid for each ear. Still, you'll have a selection of devices to choose from based on your preferences and lifestyle. Also, your budget comes into it since some models with advanced features cost more than basic hearing aids. The audiologist explains the various features found on hearing aids, how hearing aids work, and how the device can help your condition.
They also help manage your expectations because while a hearing device helps you hear better, you'll probably not hear in the same way as you did when you were younger. Once you've chosen the right hearing aid, the audiologist orders it for you. It might even be necessary to have a mold made of your ear depending on the type of device you choose. In a week or two, your new hearing aid will be ready for your fitting.
Wear Your New Hearing Aid
When you pick up your hearing aid, it has to be fitted to you. This involves adjusting the settings so you can hear soft sounds and so loud sounds aren't overwhelming. The audiologist does this by placing a tiny tube in your ear canal that measures vibrations in your eardrum. The tube is inserted at the same time as your hearing aid so measurements can be taken that evaluate how well you hear loud and soft volume with the device turned on. Then, adjustments can be made to the device until the sound amplification is just right.
The aid may also be adjusted for a perfect fit in your ear so it's comfortable to wear. At this time, the audiologist explains how to operate the hearing aid so you get the best help from it. They'll go over all the features and tell you how to care for it at home so it lasts a long time.
You'll probably have at least one follow-up appointment with the audiologist so they can check how you're doing with your new hearing aid and address any problems you may have with its operation or fit. It may take a few weeks to get used to wearing the hearing aid, but once you're able to hear better you'll appreciate how much a hearing aid helped improve your life. Contact an audiologist, like Mark Montgomery MD FACS, for more help.