If you suspect that you might need a hearing instrument, you will first need to have your hearing tested by an audiologist. It is preferable to see a physician who specializes in the diseases of the ear, like an Otolaryngologist, prior to the testing as well. That’s why our office is uniquely qualified to meet your needs. We can schedule you to see Dr. Gilmore, the Otolaryngologist, as well as one of our Audiologists, on the same day.
At the time of the hearing evaluation, a brief case history will be taken to determine how much your hearing problem impacts your day-to-day life as well as the lives of your family. Questions will be asked about when and how the hearing loss started, if there is ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and if you experience dizziness. You may also have to provide some basic questions about your general health history.
The results from your hearing evaluation will provide the audiologist with information about your hearing health care needs. If your hearing test reveals permanent hearing loss is present, the use of hearing instruments may be recommended for one or both ears and you will be scheduled for a hearing aid evaluation or consultation appointment. There is no fee for this appointment, and you are highly encouraged to bring a friend with you to the appointment so that you have a familiar voice to listen to when testing out the latest hearing instrument technology. Whenever possible, our office will allow you take a demo set of high-end hearing instruments home for a week or two, in order that you might make the most informed decision before purchasing hearing instruments.
If things go great and you are ready to move forward, you and the audiologist will choose the best hearing instrument style, features, and level of sophistication in the technology based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial circumstances. Once you make a decision, the audiologist may take impressions of your ears if you selected custom hearing aids or if the behind-the-ear hearing instruments would be best fit with custom earmolds. The devices are ordered from the manufacturer, and then in about two weeks, the devices will be programmed based on a prescription prescribed by your audiologist at the time of dispensing. Again, it is nice to bring your significant other to this appointment if at all possible as a lot of information will be discussed.
Programming the devices to a level that meets your specific hearing needs usually requires a few visits over the course of a month. Sometimes this process can go quickly, or it may take a little longer than a month. A lot of your success in wearing hearing instruments lies within the brain, and with the expertise and experience of the fitting audiologist. So do not be discouraged, have realistic expectations, and keep an open dialogue with your audiologist so that she may be able to best meet your hearing health needs.