Do You Need to See A Doctor to Get A Hearing Aid?
While it is not a legal requirement to visit a doctor before getting a hearing aid, it is highly advisable that you do so. Trained and qualified audiologists will verify whether you need a hearing aid and, if you do, set it up correctly for your particular variety of hearing loss.
If you have trouble hearing, you may decide that a hearing aid will help. You go online, check out some of the models on online stores and then place your order. Unfortunately, when the hearing aid arrives, you struggle to set it up or even fit it in your ear. Ultimately, you realize that you could have made life much easier for yourself by visiting a trained audiologist first – somebody who can guide you through the process and ensure that you get the best possible results.
It would be best if you thought of your audiologist in a similar way to your optician. Just as you go to eyesight experts for tests that determine the type of glasses you need, you should also consider audiologists when you suspect hearing loss.
How audiologists help you get the right hearing aid
Audiologists take you through a detailed, step-by-step process that ensures that you find the right hearing aid for you.
Testing your hearing
Audiologists are experts at first determining whether you need hearing aids and, if so, which type. Many factors cause hearing loss. For instance, some patients have impacted cerumen and require earwax removal to restore their hearing to adequate levels. Others experience hearing loss because of trauma to the ear or brain and require specific rehabilitative therapies.
Suppose your audiologist suspects sensorineural hearing loss (the type of hearing loss caused by problems with the biological machinery of the ear). In that case, they will conduct an audiogram to characterize it better.
During the audiogram, you’ll put on a pair of headphones, and then the audiologist will pipe a range of pure tones to your ears, all at different frequencies. You then indicate the point at which you can hear the sound, and they jot it down. The resulting profile of your hearing loss displays which frequencies you can detect easily, and which you can’t.
Audiologists may then conduct a range of additional tests, such as your ability to hear directional sounds or specific voices in the context of background noise. At the end of the process, they are in a position to characterize the severity of your hearing loss and recommend which hearing aid you should choose.
Selecting the right hearing aid
The next step in the process is to select an appropriate hearing aid. There are dozens of different models on the market, offering various form-factors and features.
Behind-the-ear devices are suitable for children or people with severe and profound hearing loss. These models have a speaker section that sits in the ear and then a battery pack and receiver that hooks over the back of the ear.
In-ear devices, including in-the-ear (ITE) and completely-in-canal (CIC), do not have a section that loops over the back of the ear. They tend to be best for those mild to moderate hearing loss as they generally provide less amplification than behind-the-ear devices.
Your audiologist will consult with you about the various features you might need from your hearing aid. These include things like Wi-Fi connectivity if you want to pipe your song playlist to them directly.
Fitting the hearing aid
The next step is fitting the hearing aid and making sure that it is comfortable. Most brands use earmolds - bespoke sections that conform to the precise shape of the outer ear. Audiologists take a mold of the area and then send it off for fabrication before finally fitting it to your device.
Calibrating the hearing aid
The final step is to calibrate the hearing aid based on the audiogram results and other tests. Modern hearing aids offer highly adjustable settings, allowing audiologists to set them up to cater to the precise nature of your hearing loss. For instance, they can amplify high-frequency sounds more if test results indicated that you struggled to hear these the most.
Once you leave the office, the service doesn’t end there. Your audiologist then arranges regular follow-ups to ensure that the hearing aid is working and still fitting comfortably. You don’t get any of this when you order devices over the internet.
Would you like to arrange a hearing test or get a hearing aid? If so, get in touch with the Hearing Wellness Centre at (519) 735-4327 to schedule an appointment.