Newly diagnosed with hearing loss? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Almost one out of five people in South Carolina experiences hearing loss to some degree. The majority of them benefit from the use of hearing aids. If you fall into this category, you’ll want to know what the process entails. Before you ever insert a pair of hearing aids into your ears, you’ll undergo what is called the fitting process.
The Fitting Process
Hearing loss is classified as either sensorineural, involving damage to the inner ear, or conductive, which affects the outer or middle ear(s). People with the latter type can often reverse their condition through surgery or drugs. Unfortunately, conductive hearing loss is pretty rare. The vast majority of patients – nine out of ten – have sensorineural hearing loss. While incurable, this type responds very well to treatment with hearing aids.
Once your Lexington audiologist has recommended hearing aids, selecting a suitable pair is only the beginning. Just as important is the fitting, a two-step process that involves programming the hearing aids to your specific hearing needs and making adjustments to ensure they provide the correct levels of amplification.
First, you’ll receive counseling to prepare you for this change in your lifestyle. While hearing aids will no doubt improve your communication abilities, it is important to understand they are not a cure for hearing loss and come with certain limitations. Making sure you have realistic expectations about what they can and cannot do will help you achieve the maximum benefit from your hearing aids.
Next, your audiologist will check the physical fit to make sure they are comfortable. He or she will adjust them based on your particular hearing and lifestyle needs and thoroughly go over their operation and maintenance. You’ll learn tips and strategies for better communication.
Follow-up appointments are crucial. A few weeks after your initial hearing aid fitting, you’ll go back so your audiologist can fine-tune and adjust your equipment and answer any questions you may have.
Adjusting your hearing aids to their optimal performance level can take a while, so additional fitting appointments may be needed. Be patient and remember that life will get easier the more you wear your hearing aids. Adjusting to life with hearing loss is a process, and the fitting is just the start!