Understanding the Hearing Aid Fitting Process

If you have been told you have a hearing loss, you have likely been told to consider buying hearing aids. When choosing a hearing aid, there can be lots of different styles, brands, colours, shapes, and sizes to choose from, often leaving you wondering if you are going to make the right decision for you. However, the most important part of getting hearing aids is not choosing the style or colour of hearing aid, but instead it is the fitting process completed by your qualified audiologist or audiometrist. Whilst some style choices will only make a small difference to how your hearing aids feel, a properly fitted hearing aid can make a world of difference in improving your ability to communicate and hear effectively.

Fitting hearing aids always begins with a hearing test. Your hearing care professional needs a recent measurement of what you are hearing so that they can fit the hearing aids specifically to this level in each ear. The audiologist or audiometrist will also look into your ears and ensure they are clean and clear for hearing aids to sit comfortably in the ear. They will also do some testing with words or sentences so that they can compare your scores with and without the hearing aids to measure what benefit is achieved with amplification.

Your audiologist or audiometrist will also ask many questions about your personal preferences, lifestyle and listening goals to know more about you and what is important to you. This is to ensure the fitting is as personal and unique to you as possible. It is important you are open with your specialist and share with them your concerns, hopes and feelings, even if you are feeling a bit nervous about the process.

Once the clinician knows which hearing aids they will be fitting, they will check that they are secure and comfortable in your ears. Whilst they are not concerned about how they sound at this point; it is a great time to tell your audiologist or audiometrist if anything feels physically uncomfortable or abnormal. Your hearing care professional will want you to aim to wear the hearing aids for all waking hours each day so the devices need to feel comfortable, and you should be able to forget that they are there after a while.

Once the physical fit of the hearing aids is right, the audiologist or audiometrist will now customise the hearing aids to you based on the measurements they have taken as well as what you are noticing. This process involves adjusting the volume, amplification, and features of the hearing aids to help you hear better in different environments. This is where the clinician will likely perform Real Ear Measurements (REM). REMs are used to verify the amplification levels are correct at each pitch or frequency. These levels can also be adjusted based on how it feels to you and what you would prefer.

Once the hearing aid has been programmed, your hearing care professional will take some time to teach you how to use and care for your new devices. You will practice how to insert and remove the hearing aids from your ears as this is something that can feel quite foreign and strange, particularly when you may not be able to see where you are putting the hearing aid. Your audiologist or audiometrist will also teach you how to clean and charge your devices. If there are other features you are interested in, such as connecting the hearing aids to your phone via Bluetooth, now is the time your clinician will do this with you. Your specialist will ensure you are confident with these things before you leave the appointment and they will book you a follow up appointment to go over everything for more practice.

It is important to remember that it may take multiple appointments to get the sound quality just right for you. It also takes the brain a while to acclimatise to the new sound so your audiologist or audiometrist may start at a lower level of amplification and work with you to bring this up to where it should be over time as you get used to the sound.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as putting on glasses and seeing more clearly. The length and time involved in this journey varies considerably between different people. The best thing you can do is be patient with the process, communicate what you are experiencing with your audiologist and continue to wear the hearing aids every day to allow your brain time to get used to the new sound.

Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive hearing test and consultation and take the first step towards improving your hearing. At Hearing Aid Specialists SA, we’re dedicated to providing compassionate care and personalised solutions that empower you to live your best life.

We are your local hearing care experts! Visit us today at a clinic near you:

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