A formal hearing aid evaluation will help determine the best hearing solutions for each patient’s individual needs. We understand that a patient may experience a range of emotions during their first hearing aid evaluation, which is why there are several steps in the evaluation process to allow our audiologist to better understand your listening needs. These steps include taking a detailed case history to understand the impact that hearing loss has on a patient’s and family’s day to day life, explaining the results of the hearing test, and explaining all available amplification options. Having a family member present during the evaluation also benefits the patient by providing support as well as a fuller picture a patient’s listening needs.
Explaining the Audiogram
Once the audiologist has obtained a detailed case history, the results from the hearing test (audiogram) will be reviewed extensively. This review will cover how hearing is tested, what type of sounds a patient may be hearing or missing, as well as a discussion on how these missing sounds may affect the patient’s day to day communication.
Now that the audiogram has been discussed, the patient will receive a brief review of the auditory system. At this time, the different parts of the auditory anatomy will be explained, so that the patient can better understand the process of how we hear. By expanding on how our sense of hearing functions, the audiologist can better explain how a hearing aid will work and set realistic expectations with amplification.
Choosing a Style
Hearing aids come in all different shapes and sizes, and what may work for one patient may not work for another. Severity, aesthetics, technology, and patient dexterity capabilities all go into the decision making process when picking a style of hearing aid. Styles include behind the ear (BTE), receiver in the canal (RIC), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC), and completely in the canal (CIC).
Hearing aids are available in several different levels of technology. Technology level in a hearing aid corresponds to the amount of automatic features available in the device, as well as increased programming capabilities for the audiologist fitting the device. What may work for some, may not work for others, and it will be up to you and your audiologist to determine what level of technology is best for your listening needs.
Hearing aid recommendation
Once a permanent hearing loss has been established, and the hearing test, anatomy, and amplification options have been discussed, the audiologist will make a recommendation for your listening needs. Factors that go into making this decision include the degree of hearing loss, lifestyle needs, and financial circumstances of the patient. The audiologist may ask information regarding hobbies and occupation as well, as some hearing aid styles and manufacturers are better for specific needs.
Once a decision is made, the audiologist may need to take impressions of your ears depending on if a custom style was chosen, or if an earmold is required. The hearing aids will be ordered directly from the manufacturer and a fitting appointment will be scheduled to program the hearing aids, as well as to teach the patient how to use and care for their new device(s). It is common that a patient will need time to adjust to their new devices, so follow up visits may be scheduled by your audiologist to ensure you’re receiving the best listening experience possible.