What steps do I take to obtain a hearing aid?
Step 1: Hearing test (audiogram)
The first step is to have your hearing evaluated. An audiologist, a professional who specializes in evaluating and managing 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. You must either have a written statement (medical clearance) from your physician or sign a medical waiver (only when no ear problems can be found) before you can be fit with hearing aids. Your audiologist will advise you if you need to seek a medical clearance or signing the medical waiver is acceptable. Individuals younger than 18 years of age must receive medical clearance from a physician, preferably an otolaryngologist, prior to being fit with hearing aids.
Step 3: Hearing aid evaluation (HAE)
During this appointment, the 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 your lifestyle, communication needs and budget.
Step 4: Hearing aid fitting (HAF)
You will return approximately 1-3 weeks following your HAE to be fit with your new devices. During this visit, the devices will be fit to your ears and programmed to meet your specific communication needs. The proper care, use, and maintenance of the hearing aids will be reviewed. You will be given adequate time to practice inserting and removing the hearing aids, changing/charging the batteries, and/or operating any additional features specific to your devices.
Step 5: Hearing aid dispensing (HAD)
During your Right-To-Return period, a HAD appointment will be scheduled. This visit may involve adjustments to the hearing aids which will be based on your feedback and discussion with the audiologist. It is critical that you bring to the appointment any specific concerns that you have or issues you are experiencing so that they may be addressed. Proper use and care of the devices will be verified and reviewed, if necessary. Ample opportunity will be available to answer any questions you have.
NOTE: Once the hearing aids are considered dispensed, the devices can no longer be returned for exchange or refund.
Step 6: Hearing aid checks (HAC)
Once the hearing aids are dispensed, all follow-up visits are considered HACs. These appointments are scheduled as needed for various reasons. You may schedule a HAC for a specific problem or a general clean and check. You may require more than one follow-up visit to get your hearing aids “fine-tuned.” Please keep in mind that hearing aids are just a tool used to enhance your communication ability. They cannot solve all of your communication difficulties. To maximize communication, you also need to employ communication strategies such as:
- Speechreading – watching the person who is talking – their mouth, their facial expressions and their body language
- Reduction of background noise – move to a more quiet space or turn down the competing sound source such as the TV or radio
- Use of context – if you know the topic you will be able to ‘fill-in’ the blanks or words you did not understand
- Use of accessories – Smartphones can be used as remote microphones or remote controls to fine-tune your devices for specific listening environments. Devices that connect to your television, computer/tablets, or telephone are also available.