Hearing Aid Fitting and Evaluation Period
Once your hearing aids have been ordered, you need to schedule your hearing aid fitting. Please plan to spend an hour to 1.5 hours for that appointment. We highly recommend bringing a family member or other support person with you to the fitting appointment so the two of you can work together as you adjust to your new devices.
The first step in the hearing aid fitting process is determining the appropriate amount of amplification for your unique hearing profile. This is done using real ear measures, to make sure the hearing aids are helping you as much as possible. This will include programming the devices on the computer and giving you the opportunity to try them out in the office before you take them home. After the technical measurements are made, your audiologist will show you how to care for the devices and answer any questions you may have.
Having a friend or family member at this appointment is helpful for two reasons. First, it is important for them to understand the tremendous advantages as well as the limitations of hearing aid technology so that expectations are realistic. Second, we provide you with lots of information regarding the use and care of your hearing instruments. Having another person walk through the process with you can make the learning curve easier once you get home. We also offer a series of free classes which can help wearers and family members with communication strategies as well as caring for the hearing devices and other topics.
The fitting appointment is the beginning of your evaluation period with your hearing aids, which is a minimum of 30 days. During this time we usually see you back after about two weeks (or earlier if you have questions or concerns) to see how you are doing with your new devices. At this appointment the audiologist may adjust the programming of your devices, or, depending on your hearing aid model, add additional programs for specialized situations like restaurants, lectures, or concerts. This is also a good time to review any instructions regarding the use and care of your new instruments.
It is important that you wear your new hearing aids as much as possible during the trial period so you can give your brain a chance to get used to all the new signals it will be receiving. It takes about three days for your brain to really begin to adjust to the new input. At first it may seem loud and overwhelming, but that is because your brain has been missing out on all the information you couldn’t hear. It has to reacclimatize itself to the additional input and learn which signals to listen to (speech) and which to ignore (traffic, extraneous voices, etc.). In fact, it is not unusual for new hearing aid wearers to think their plumbing is broken because they can hear running water or call their mechanic about their turn signals because they have not been able to hear them for so long. It will also take a while for both you and the people around you to learn how loud to talk once that you have the devices. You are all used to talking louder than normal and will need to modulate your voices to account for your improved hearing.
We want you to be completely satisfied with your new hearing devices. If for some reason you are not happy with your hearing aids by the end of your evaluation period, we will do everything we can to find the right solution for you.
For patients who purchase their hearing devices from Pacific Hearing Service, any programming changes or adjustments within your first year of service are complimentary. Our service to you also includes complimentary lifetime cleaning of hearing devices purchased from us. For most people, we recommend you have your devices cleaned every 2-3 months. Some people need this service more often due to their lifestyle or other factors. Although we teach you to clean your hearing aids yourself, we have specialized tools that allow us to do a more thorough cleaning than you are able to do at home. Our patients tell us their hearing aids sound brighter and clearer after using our cleaning service. It also helps prolong the life of the hearing aids. No appointment is necessary for a cleaning, it is done on a drop-in basis by our front office. It only takes about 10-15 minutes and both of our offices have plenty of free parking.