If you have been evaluated for hearing loss by your hearing healthcare provider, you may have already determined your candidacy for hearing aids. If you have made your ear impressions and ordered your aids, you now just have to wait for them to return from the manufacturer. Typically the wait time is 1.5 to 3 weeks for a custom aid or custom ear piece to return. Non-custom aids may be ready to be fit the same week as your evaluation. Once the aids have returned to your provider’s clinic, they will thoroughly check the devices to ensure that the hearing instruments are performing as expected. An appointment for fitting and orientation will be scheduled.
Expect your fitting and orientation to last between 1 and 1.5 hours. Your provider will place your hearing instruments in your ears and ensure a good fit. While the feeling may not be very natural for you at the beginning, there should never be any major discomfort or pain, even initially. If you note any of these symptoms, tell your hearing healthcare provider immediately.
Your aids will be connected by wires or wirelessly (typically through Bluetooth capabilities) to a computer programming software. Your provider will probably have pre-programmed basic settings prior to your coming in. The sounds seem very new and very loud to you at first. These occurrences are natural, but if the sound is uncomfortable or distorted tell your provider. Your patient feedback is just as valuable as the computer programming used. Some programming adjustments may be made to get the best sound quality for your hearing needs.
Some providers ask their patients to stick to a schedule of wear time for your hearing instruments. An adjustment period may necessary for some (but not all) patients to acclimate to this “new” sound. If you want to deviate from the schedule, wear more often – never less often.
Your hearing healthcare provider will guide you through the process of understanding the components of your aid, inserting and removing your aids, and hearing instrument care and maintenance. You should be given time to demonstrate these skills and ask any questions. You should be provided with a supply of batteries to carry you through at least a 30-day trial period. A follow-up appointment is usually set for one to two weeks. If you have problems with your hearing or hearing aids before then, contact your provider.
Dr. Lynn O’Bray-Donohue is a N.Y.S Licensed Audiologist and Hearing Aid Dispenser, and has been providing Audiologic Care at East End Hearing since 1987. She has been co-owner of East End Hearing, with her partner Dr. Michael Qualley, since 1991. She is often invited by civic organizations to speak on behalf of hearing loss and hearing aids. On a personal note, Dr. O’Bray-Donohue spends her free time reading, traveling and relaxing with her family. She lives in the local community with her husband and daughter.