When your audiologist recommends hearing aids, selection is only the beginning of the process. Equally important is the fitting and orientation.
The fitting involves ensuring a good physical fit, programming your hearing aids and using real ear measures to provide the correct levels of amplification your hearing loss requires. It is also important that you are comfortable with the sound quality.
The orientation involves discussing care and maintenance of your hearing aids. You will learn how to use them correctly and make adjustments for different hearing environments, insert and remove them, change or charge the batteries and clean and care for them properly. You will also learn tips and strategies for better communication.
A follow-up visit will be scheduled a few weeks after your initial fitting. During this appointment, your audiologist will fine-tune and adjust your hearing aids as needed and answer any questions you may have. It may take a while to adjust your hearing aids to their maximum effectiveness, so additional follow-up appointments may be needed.
What are real ear measures and why are they important in the fitting process?
Real ear measures involve placing a probe tube, connected to a microphone into the ear canal and measuring the output of the hearing aid. This output is compared to predetermined target gain based on your pure tone thresholds. The hearing aid is then adjusted to meet this target gain. In fact, research has shown a decrease in perceived hearing aid benefit with increasing deviation from target gain values. Your satisfaction with hearing aids may depend on whether the hearing aids are fit using real ear measures.
According to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the gain of a hearing aid should be verified using probe tube measures, also known as real ear measures. Many facilities do not complete this important procedure and in turn do not ensure optimal hearing aid performance.
You can take comfort knowing that the audiologists at Watauga Hearing complete real ear measures each and every time it is possible. A deviation of this process, called real ear to coupler difference (RECD), is completed on pediatric patients to ensure that their hearing aids are meeting target gains. Completing real ear measures is one of the ways we strive to provide the very best hearing care available.
Call Watauga Hearing at (423) 928-1901 for more information or to schedule an appointment.