Nowadays we can basically find everything we need or want online, including hearing aids. But, like the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. In this case, hearing aids are tricky to get exactly right in an over-the-counter type of setting. Much like our finger prints, our ear shapes are all different making it very difficult for a mass-produced over-the-counter hearing aid to really work as hearing aids are intended.
Based on this fact alone, not to mention the programming issues, over-the-counter hearing aids can work against you and even create frustration for the hearing aid wearer to the point of giving up. At Physicians Hearing Solutions (PHS), located on Post Road in Warwick and East Providence, Rhode Island, this is exactly what we want people with hearing loss to avoid: Situations that make you want to give up on hearing help.
At PHS we do not charge patients for a hearing evaluation. We believe this supports the idea that anyone should be able to take care of their hearing health. If you feel like you could be living with hearing loss and you live in the MA/RI/CT area, call us, we can help! (401) 921-0181.
Hearing Aid Fitting Process
The process for solving hearing health issues can be a lengthy one. Hearing loss itself requires proper diagnosis, typically achieved through a complete hearing evaluation and otoscopic exam. Once a hearing evaluation is complete it is generally reviewed by an Audiologist (Au.D) and/or National Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist (NBC-HIS). If it is determined that you are living with an untreated hearing loss and hearing aids are the recommended solution, the following is the hearing aid fitting process you can expect to go through:
1. The Hearing Aid Fit
The first step in a hearing aid fitting process is an overall assessment of the actual fit of the hearing instruments you’ve chosen. There are several types of hearing aids to choose from and you’re Au.D. or NBC-HIS will likely have recommendations for you. But, for the purpose of this blog, I’ll include them here:
Lyric – 100% invisible, the Lyric is the only deep ear hearing aid technology that offers clients complete invisibility. Thanks to its unique placement, clients can enjoy the benefits of better hearing without anyone ever knowing they’re using a hearing aid.
Receiver-In-the-Ear (RITE) – These hearing aids are preferred by many because they keep the ear canal open and reduce any plugged-up feelings. However, your degree of hearing loss will depend on the exact aid selected.
Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC) – These hearing instruments rest inside the ear rather than behind it. The small size of these aids offers a very discreet style and are mostly used for people with mild to severe hearing losses.
In-The-Ear (ITE) – These hearing instruments rest inside the ear rather than behind it. The small size of these aids offers a very discreet style and are mostly used for people with mild to severe hearing losses.
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) – These instruments are appropriate for hearing losses from mild to profound. Directional microphones, multiple listening programs, tele-coil, and Bluetooth® compatibility are available features. This traditional style is a good choice for pediatric patients and individuals with excessive moisture and accumulative cerumen (earwax).
In-The-Canal (ITC) – These hearing instruments rest inside the ear rather than behind it. The small size of these aids offers a very discreet style and are mostly used for people with mild to severe hearing losses.
It is important to ensure hearing aids fit within the ear canal comfortably. This will support wanting to wear your hearing aids and also provide the exact hearing experience your BC-HIS and/or Au.D. are striving to provide. Your audiologist should take the time to ensure your hearing aids fit snugly, without causing pain. Wearing hearing aids should not cause pain.
2. Programming Hearing Aid Settings
To work effectively, hearing aids require programming. Hearing aids work best when programmed to an individual’s specific hearing loss needs. The audiologist will program the devices, usually with a computer, and make tweaks as necessary. In doing so, the Au.D. is working to create an environment that will allow you optimum hearing success.
3. Testing Hearing Aid Programming for Accuracy
Once your hearing aids are programmed, and Au.D and/or BC-HIS will test the accuracy of the program. In order to test the accuracy of the hearing aids just programmed, you will go through one more test. During this assessment, tones or speech will be played for you to respond to; from the responses, the audiologist will be able to decide if the hearing aid program will support your specific type and degree of hearing loss.
4. Learning About Hearing Aid Features & Functions
Now it’s time to learn how to use your new hearing aids. Now it’s time for your Au.D. and/or BC-HIS to show you how to use, care for and maintain your new hearing aids. During this portion of the hearing aid fitting process, you’ll learn:
- How to insert your hearing aids into your ear canal or onto the back of your ear
- How to turn on/off your new hearing aids
- How to initiate any special programs or features, such as Bluetooth etc.
- How to clean and properly care for your hearing aids to ensure the devices’ last and function properly
- How to check and replace batteries
At the end of the hearing aid fitting process you should fully understand how your hearing aids function, how to care for your hearing aids and when you may need to call your Au.D. and/or BC-HIS for assistance. Your audiologist will also provide you with a schedule for wearing your new aids and will schedule a follow up appointment to make sure they continue to work well for you.
Physicians Hearing Solutions is committed to working together to bring the most quality hearing healthcare to our patients in order to achieve our overall goal of improving all our patients with an increased quality of life. To fulfill this mission, we are committed to earning the trust and respect of all of our patients, through providing professionalism; ensuring a creative, challenging, and compassionate professional environment; exceeding your expectations; listening to those we are privileged to serve; and always striving for continuous improvement at all levels.
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