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Steps to Obtaining Hearing Aids

2012-09-04

Obtaining hearing aids involves several appointments described below.

Step 1: Audiologic evaluation (hearing test)

The first step is to have your hearing evaluated. An audiologist, a professional who specializes in evaluating and treating hearing loss, will determine the type and degree of your hearing loss and its impact on your ability to communicate.

Step 2: Medical clearance

Obtaining medical clearance from your physician is in your best health interest. The physician determines that your hearing cannot be improved by medical or surgical treatment. Before you can be fitted for hearing aids, you must either obtain a written statement from your physician or sign a medical waiver. Individuals 18 years of age or younger must receive medical clearance from a physician, preferably an otolaryngologist, prior to being fit with hearing aids.

Step 3: Hearing needs assessment

In this 1-hour appointment, an audiologist will discuss the various types of hearing aid styles, the latest technological advances, and what you can expect from your hearing aids. Together, you and the audiologist will decide which hearing aids are the most appropriate for you, given your individual lifestyle and listening needs. If needed, impressions will be made of your ears so that your hearing aids can be custom-fit.

Step 4: Hearing aid dispensing or hearing aid orientation

Your hearing aids will arrive about 2-3 weeks after your hearing aid evaluation. At this time, you will return for a 1.5-hour fitting appointment. The actual physical fit will be verified: hearing aids should never cause you physical discomfort. The hearing aids will be adjusted or programmed to your specific hearing needs. The proper care, use, and maintenance (including warranty) of the hearing aids will be explained to you. During this visit, you will have time to practice inserting and removing the hearing aid and the hearing aid battery, and to manipulate any controls the hearing aid may have.

Step 5: Follow-up hearing aid consultation

A follow-up hearing aid consultation is scheduled in the first few weeks following your initial fitting. This visit is important so that your audiologist can answer any questions you may have. The hearing aids may be "fine-tuned" and additional testing may be conducted, if necessary. Remember: it takes time to adjust to your hearing aids. As you learn to listen with your hearing aids, your listening demands change. For this reason, it is important to return for these follow-up appointments to obtain the maximum benefit from your hearing aids. You may require more than one follow-up visit to get your hearing aids "fine-tuned."

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