The fitting appointment will last 45 minutes. The audiologist will first customize the devices to amplify sound based on your hearing evaluation results using computer software and a special technology named “Real Ear Measures”. This 10-minute procedure is similar to an eye exam for glasses except that instead of letter, speech sounds are presented at different levels. These measurements are considered the “gold-standard” for fitting hearing devices and once completed, further adjustments rarely required.
Once the measurements are completed, the hearing professional will explain how insert and remove the devices, how to change batteries and how to care for the devices.
Adapting to Hearing Devices
When you put the hearing devices in for the first time, you may experience different emotions about the sounds that you hear. This is normal. Expect approximately 2-4 weeks for the brain and hearing nerve to adjust to amplification. Until that period has passed, sounds and your own voice will be perceived as unnaturally loud and strange. This adaptation period is similar to the experience individuals undergo following shoulder, hip or knee surgery where physical therapy is required afterwards to strengthen those joints. In this case, the hearing aids are in a sense strengthening the hearing nerve to hear again. Accept that this process is initially uncomfortable. However, after 1-month, most individuals are enjoying the sounds of life, engaging in social conversations and feeling connected to the world around them again. Also, understand that it takes 1 week to become confident with changing the battery and inserting and removing the device from your ears.
You will be provided a follow-up visit for 1-week after the fitting appointment to monitor how well you are adjusting to sounds and to learn how to clean the devices. This appointment is generally brief and not much longer than 15 minutes. It is expected your brain is still adapting to the sounds of life.
The audiologist will schedule a final appointment 3-weeks later, which is 30-days from when the fitting occurred. At this stage, clinical studies have shown you should be maximally adapted to sound and the devices sounding much more natural to you. In fact, many individuals at this point express they often forget they are wearing them and yet they feel much more engaged and connected to the sounds of life around them. The audiologist will ensure the devices are fitting well in your ears and you will be asked to complete a post-fitting survey of how well you are hearing in different listing environments around you. This will be compared to a survey you filled out prior to the fitting which should show a marked improvement in hearing. After this visit, you will not need to be seen for 3-5 years.
Having a positive outlook is key to success. If you as well as your spouse, family member and/or friends approach you hearing device fitting with positively, you will have a much better listening experience more quickly. Keep in mind that it will take time to get used to the sound you were missing and by keeping your 2 follow-up visits with your hearing professional, you will soon be on your way to getting on with life with better hearing.