What to Expect
Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation (Audiogram):
Our comprehensive hearing evaluation takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes. You will be taken into a soundtreated test room where the audiologist will examine your ears with an otoscope to look at the health of your outer ear canal and eardrum. Then there will be a pressure check of your ears, this will tell how well your eardrum and little bones of the ear are transmitting sound. Then headphones are placed on your ears for tone testing to determine how softly you can hear different pitches or tones. Speech testing is also conducted to determine how softly you can understand words and how clearly you can understand words spoken at different sound levels. At this point the audiologist can determine if an evaluation with your family doctor or Ear Nose and Throat doctor (ENT) is warranted.
Hearing aid Consultation:
If the audiogram indicates that hearing loss is present, information about hearing aids can be provided. There are many styles of hearing instruments with different levels of technology to fit your hearing loss and personal preferences. We consider your lifestyle, physical limitations and budget. Impressions of your ears may need to be taken to make custom fitting hearing aids or ear molds for use with behind the ear style hearing aids. In some cases, re-adjustment of your existing hearing aids to match current hearing levels may be indicated.
Hearing aid expectations:
Hearing aids have come a long way in the past 10 years with the advent of digital hearing aid technology. During the hearing aid fitting process, the audiologist enters hearing test values into a computer in the office and programs the hearing aids using software from the hearing aid manufacturer. Digital hearing aids offer options that are not available in analog circuitry such as speech enhancement, noise reduction, feedback cancellation, automatic telephone activation and Bluetooth connectivity to name a few. Many manufacturers include data logging to help the audiologist fine tune the hearing aids on subsequent visits by showing the percentage of time the hearing aids have been used in quiet and noisy places. Using new and constantly improving options, audiologists can help all but a very few hearing impaired people communicate more effectively leading to heightened enjoyment of life with less annoying side effects.
When being fitted with hearing aids, the purchaser should keep in mind that appropriately fitted hearing aids help them communicate more easily with less stress and effort, improving their quality of life, but are not able to perfectly restore the normal hearing they remember when they were younger. Some hearing impaired people will experience challenges when wearing hearing aids depending on the cause of their hearing loss and extent of damage. Some hearing aid users report a long adjustment time getting used to their new hearing aids and others a short adjustment time. During the consultation, we will outline reasonable expectations of hearing aid benefit based on hearing test results and unique history.
Hearing Care Program:
An ongoing follow up program and daily care of the hearing instruments are the best way to insure that the hearing aids are functioning properly and communicative performance is optimal. During a semi-annual hearing aid cleaning and check up, we may change ear mold tubing, clean the hearing aid battery compartment, change moisture filters, free microphone port and receiver ports of obstructing debris, adjust program options, perform electroacoustic analysis of the hearing aids etc. If the wearer reports that the hearing aid is not functioning properly, real ear measurement or aided sound field testing may be performed to evaluate the output of the aid and measure distortion. Discussion of changes in hearing stability at this appointment may result in a referral to a medical professional or re-screening of hearing thresholds so that the hearing aids can be best adjusted to fit current hearing thresholds and communicative needs of the patient.