Process of Being Evaluated for a Hearing Aid
First Step: Examine Ear Canals
The examination of your ear canals is the most important part of being evaluated for a hearing aid. When the Hearing Specialist examines your ear canals it should be used with a Video Otoscope where you can view your ear canal on a monitor and the hearing specialist can accurately assess your ear canals for any issues. After the examination, the hearing specialist will go over the health history of your ears, such as your current medications, Tinnitus, and any past surgeries on your ears. "If you are on any blood thinner, aspirin, Coumadin/Warfarin, then you may have to request additional approval from your Physician"
Second Step: Hearing Test "Audiologic Evaluation"
The hearing test needs to be performed by a Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist who is experienced in performaing a hearing evaluation and should be tested inside of a Sound Booth for optimum quietness. The first procedure is the Pure Tone "Air Conduction", where you will respond to tones presented in your ear canal. The second step is called the "Bone Conduction", where you have a Bone Oscillator placed over your bone and you respond to the sounds. The final part is called a Speech Assessment, where the specialist will go over MCL "Most Comforable Level", UCL "Uncomfortable Level", and words/phrases of common difficulty.
Third Step: Hearing Aid Evaluation
The Hearing Specialist will go over the results of your Audiologic Evaluation by assessing the Audiogram with you. They will determine from your hearing health history, lifestyle, and Severity of Hearing Loss and which hearing aid would be most beneficial for you.
Fourth Step: Hearing Aid Fitting or Dispensing
Depending upon which style of hearing aid is chosen, you may be fit the same day or have to wait up to 2 weeks for the hearing aids to be custom built. The specialist will initially program the instrument to your Audiogram including the MCL "Most Comfortable Level", UCL "Uncomforable Level", and BC "Bone Conduction". After initial programming the specialist will perform a REM "Real Ear Measurement" while you are wearing the hearing aids. This procedure is to verify that the hearing device is performing correctly with your ear canals. The final step is to go over the sound quality of the hearing device for artifact sounds "such as shrill, booming, or tunneling" and make sure everything sounds natural to you. Upon delivery of the hearing aids, the specialist will go over cleaning, proper insertion and removal of hearing aids, warranty, and a complete explanation of the hearing device's components.
Final Step: Followup Hearing Aid Appointment
Within the first few weeks of receiving your hearing aids, you may need to have a follow-up hearing aid adjustment to fine-tune any sounds that are uncomfortable, too loud, and too soft. Usually a patient that has an undiagnosed hearing loss for many years, will generally want the hearing aid volume increased after a few weeks due to your ear canals being acclimated to the new sound.