23 Jun Getting the Perfect Fit
Hearing aids come in many shapes and sizes – and so do the ears of those who wear them. So how do audiologists make sure that your hearing aids fit your ears? It’s a combination of two things: comfort and sound.
The Physical Fit
There are many ways to fit a hearing aid. In general , an audiologist will follow four main steps:
1. Study the audiogram – Which type of hearing aid is right for you?After your initial hearing test, your hearing professional will first look at your type and level of hearing loss. Some hearing aids are not appropriate for certain types of hearing loss.
2. Consider your needs – Make sure to tell your hearing professional about any special needs you have concerning hearing aids. Do your hands shake or do you have arthritis? – making it difficult to handle small batteries? Which color hearing aids would you like? Choose one that matches your hair or skin color for a more discreet look – or brighter colors if you see your hearing aids as fashion accessories
3. Measure your ears – An earwire is a small wire that connects the ear tip in your ear to the hearing aid behind your ear. The length of an earwire for behind-the-ear hearing aids depends on the size of your ear. Your hearing professional will use a small tool to measure how long your wire will need to be
4. Choose an earmold – After your type of hearing aid and wire are chosen you will be fit for an earmold. Earmolds are plastic pieces that secure the hearing aids speaker in the ear. There are two types of earmolds – instant domes that are made of a soft silicone, and custom earmolds that are made of hard or soft material. If custom earmolds are right for you, your hearing professional will make an impression of your outer ear using a quick-dry silicone substance. This impression will be used as a basis for your earmolds to make sure they fit precisely your ears.
TIP! Ask your hearing professional to take a picture of one of your ears after your hearing professional has put your hearing aids on. This way you will know how to position them correctly when you get home.
Fitting for Sound
Once your hearing aid fits comfortably in your ear it is time to program it to create the perfect sound environment. To do so, the hearing professional will typically follow these steps:
- Program your hearing aid – Your hearing professional will use special fitting software to see how your hearing aids work with your type of hearing loss. This software will also measure the acoustics of your ear and how hearing aids react to that. This makes for a more precise fit.
- The hearing test – You will then get another hearing test – this time with your hearing aids on. This will help to measure the differences in how you can hear with hearing aids vs. without them.
- The final touches – After you and your hearing professional have determined the best fit and sound, you will be able to make smaller adjustments based on real-life listening situations. You will return to your hearing professional to make small adjustments to tailor them to your real life listening needs after a few days.
This is just the beginning! Once we have the perfect initial fit, we work with you continually to guide you along your path to better hearing. Hearing aids are not “one size fits all”, and in fact, your needs will change over the course of wearing your hearing aids. Frequent visits to your audiologist are necessary to maintain optimal functioning of your ears and brain with the hearing aids.