The hearing aid fitting — an appointment made after the type and degree of hearing loss has been diagnosed and you’ve ordered your hearing aids — is an exciting appointment. This will be your first opportunity to try on your hearing aids to see (or hear!) and understand how they work.

The fitting process

During a hearing aid fitting your hearing healthcare professional will make sure the hearing aids fit well and work properly, without any static, whistling or feedback (all common issues with hearing aids). First, your hearing healthcare professional will make sure the hearing aids fit well, ensuring they aren’t too tight for comfort or too loose, which may cause feedback and whistling.

Testing the settings

While wearing your hearing aids, the hearing healthcare professional will test your understanding of words in both quiet and noisy environments. You will also be tested for the amount of improvement in hearing tones. Don’t fret — there are no right or wrong answers. It is important to be very honest with your hearing healthcare professional during these tests to make sure you’re gaining the most benefit from your hearing aids.

Using a real ear measure

You may also undergo a real ear measure. A real ear measure is considered the preferred method of verifying the performance of the hearing aids, as recommended by the American Speech-Language-Haering Association (ASHA) as well as the American Academy of Augiology (AAA). The test is pain free and simply checks how loud you perceive sound in the ear canal. During the test, the hearing healthcare professional will examine the ear canal with an otoscope to ensure it is free of wax or debris. Then, a thin probe tube will be placed into the ear canal. The tube is connected to a microphone, which measures the volume of sound and noise near the eardrum. This is done with or without the hearing aids in place (usually with the hearing aids is place, but that’s not always the case).

Programming the hearing aids

If the hearing aids are worn during the test, they will be inserted after the probe tube. The hearing healthcare professional will turn them on before emitting a sound. The microphone will record the sound, enabling the hearing healthcare professional to ensure that soft sounds are loud enough and that moderate sounds are amplified to a comfortable level. The test also ensures loud sounds do not exceed your comfort level.

Once the real ear measure is complete, your hearing aids should be tuned for your type and degree of hearing loss. This appointment will also cover proper care and maintenance of your hearing aids, as well as basic functions of the device. You will likely schedule a follow up appointment at the end of the hearing aid fitting so that the hearing healthcare professional can check in with you and your new hearing aids.

It’s important to note hearing aids may require a small adjustment period. If you’ve been wearing your hearing aids for more than a month and are still struggling to hear your environment, schedule an appointment with your hearing care provider to ensure your devices are working properly.