Preparing for a hearing aid fitting at A Better Ear involves being psychologically ready, setting yourself some hearing goals and bringing along your phone, and a list of any questions you might have. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Being psychologically ready for your hearing aid fitting
We’re often asked ‘How long does a hearing aid fitting take?’ While the actual appointment takes about an hour, the process of getting there can vary depending on a number of factors. For example, you may need time to adjust to a diagnosis of hearing loss and consider the options available for hearing rehabilitation.
Unlike many other audiology clinics, we don’t rush you into a hearing aid fitting. We’re a fully independent clinic that deliberately operates with no preferred supplier agreement, no minimum volume requirements and no commissions or incentive payments from hearing aid device manufacturers.
That means we’re solely focused on you. We know that there’s no point in fitting you with a hearing aid unless you’re ready to wear one. If you’re not, then we respect that and work with you on other aspects of hearing rehabilitation. Down the track, you might feel ready for a hearing aid – and that’s when we’ll start helping you choose the right one and arrange a time for a hearing aid fitting.
Reflect on your hearing goals
What do you hope to gain from wearing a hearing aid? Spend some time thinking about what you hope it’ll achieve. Chat about this with your family too. If you have a spouse or partner, they’ll probably have their own hopes too.
Try to make your hearing goals specific such as:
- I want to be able to hear my partner in informal chats at home, like when they call out that dinner’s ready or mention something in passing
- I’d like more harmony in my home and less frustration when we communicate
- I’d like to be able to hear clearly the first time without needing people to repeat it for me
- We’d like to be able to watch TV together at a volume that’s comfortable for us both.
Write down your questions
As your appointment approaches, you’ll probably start thinking more about wearing a hearing aid. When a question pops up, write it down. Bring your list along so you can ask your questions at your hearing aid fitting. We want you to get everything you need during your appointment and are very happy to answer questions.
Bring your phone and know your passwords
Many digital hearing devices now link to your smartphone. That’s a very useful feature because you can use your phone to make adjustments – but only if you’ve been able to download the right app.
So, if you have an iPhone, make sure you know your Apple ID and password for the app store or the play store password for your Android phone. That way, we can help you install the right app and show you how to use it when we fit your hearing aid. It’s much easier than trying to do it yourself later.
What to expect at your hearing aid fitting appointment
Your hearing aid fitting takes about an hour. Since there can be a lot of information to absorb, we’ll provide you with a few leaflets to take home that will help you remember the key points about how to use your hearing aid.
We’ll have your device ready (having chosen it together at a previous appointment). Then we’ll fit it to your ears, ensuring it feels comfortable and calibrating it to suit your hearing needs (based on your previous hearing test results). Our training and expertise helps us find the sweet spot that amplifies soft sounds without making loud sounds uncomfortable to hear.
What to expect after your hearing aid fitting
There’s a journey involved in getting used to a hearing aid. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to its presence in your life.
Once your hearing aid is fitted, we encourage you to wear it all day, every day because you’re retraining your brain.
With a hearing aid in place, you’ll be hearing many, many sounds you haven’t heard for a while. That’s a huge amount of extra information for your brain to process. Your brain needs time to relearn what each sound means and which emotion to attach to it – is it a noise you need to act on like the microwave beeping or a background sound you can tune out?
The good news is that your brain is an amazingly quick learner and achieves all this in just a few days if you wear your hearing aid constantly.
So, keep it on and try it out in different situations like loud cafes, quiet bushwalks, beach strolls, shopping trips, phone calls and watching TV.
Keep notes on your experience. Are you noticing new sounds? Which sounds feel good to your ears? Which ones feel uncomfortable? What about your hearing goals? Look back at your goals and see whether you’ve made progress towards them. Talk to your partner or family about the changes they’ve noticed as a result of your hearing aid.
At your follow-up appointment
About one or two weeks after your hearing aid fitting, we’ll see you again to check your progress.
At this appointment, we will usually:
- Ask you how it’s been going
- Run a few speech and listening tests with and without your hearing aid
- Make any necessary adjustments to your hearing aid based on your test results and your experience of wearing the device
- Show you how to maintain your hearing aid.
How A Better Ear can help
Our patient-centred process means we can help you at each stage of managing your hearing loss. A Better Ear can diagnose your type and degree of hearing loss, counsel you on ways to manage it, and support you as you consider the way forward.
If you decide you’d like a hearing aid, we can provide knowledgeable, unbiased advice about which one is best for you, since we’re not swayed by any contracts or commissions with the device companies. That’s rare in our industry.
If you’re not keen on a hearing aid (and some people aren’t initially), then we can help you manage your hearing loss in other ways, giving you strategies to enhance communication, improve relationships and reduce stress.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.