Losing the ability to hear is a part of life for most people. However, once it is determined hearing aids may be necessary in order to help counteract the damage, it can be difficult to figure out what is the best solution. This guide will help make the process easier and a lot smoother for those who need to make the transition.
Before Initial Consultation
Before setting out to purchase one of these devices, the consumer should do their research. In addition to researching which healthcare professional will offer the best care, treatment options and a list of questions for the doctor should be assembled. When making the first appointment, it should not be necessary to wait more than a week or two to get in.
For the initial consultation, it is important for the person suffering from hearing loss to bring someone else along. Taking a spouse or another trusted individual can help ease any anxiety that may be present. It also gives the spouse, relative, or friend an opportunity to ask questions and become better educated about the procedure, as well.
The First Appointment
During the first appointment, tests are conducted. During this series of hearing aids tests, a communication assessment will be included to gauge how well the patient can communicate without any added amplification. There will also be standard auditory tests for the doctor to measure the severity of the loss. An inspection of the ear is conducted before any auditory testing is performed. Some of these exams will include “automatic” testing of the middle and inner ear.
After the exams are completed, the doctor will go over how extensive the loss is and what options are available. He will also demonstrate the technology so the patient can see how it works and what it looks like. All questions about how the equipment will help should be explained during this discussion. In addition, the healthcare provider should also talk about pricing as individual devices can cost from $700 to $3,000 each.
Fitting the Device
If the patient decides to go ahead and purchase hearing aids, the provider may take molds of each ear so that the devices can be custom designed to fit perfectly. If the consumer plans to get a small, digital piece that fits behind the ear with a small tube that runs into the canal, a mold may not be necessary. The doctor will then schedule a follow-up appointment to fit the patient with his new auditory devices when they are available.
During the fitting process, the patient will be given information on how the devices work, how to maintain them, and how often to wear them for the first few weeks until they become accustomed to them.
Despite common myths, hearing aids don’t completely counteract the damage that has been done over time. While they do amplify sounds and make it easier for patients to communicate, they will not give the wearer perfect hearing, however, the hearing aids will present a significant improvement from their current state of loss.