Hearing Aid Fitting and Prescription
The data collected from these measurements are handed over to the hearing aid dispenser who provides a hearing aid that matches the prescribed response characteristics.
Hearing aid fitting and prescription is the process of selecting, adjusting, and programming hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss. Hearing aids are electronic devices that amplify and process sound to help people hear better in different situations. Hearing aid fitting and prescription involves the following steps:
• Hearing aid selection: This step involves choosing the type, style, and features of the hearing aid that best suit the individual’s hearing needs, preferences, and budget. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may use different criteria to help the individual select the hearing aid, such as the degree and configuration of hearing loss, the ear anatomy, the lifestyle, the cosmetic appeal, the feedback management, the noise reduction, the directional microphones, the wireless connectivity, or the battery life.
• Hearing aid fitting: This step involves fitting the hearing aid to the individual’s ear and adjusting the physical comfort and retention of the device. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may use different techniques to fit the hearing aid, such as taking an ear impression for a custom-made earmold or shell, or using a standard or modified dome or tip for an open-fit or receiver-in-the-canal device. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may also check for any feedback or whistling that may occur when the hearing aid is in place and make necessary modifications to prevent it.
• Hearing aid programming: This step involves programming the hearing aid to match the individual’s hearing loss and listening preferences using a computer software and a programming cable or a wireless device. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may use different methods to program the hearing aid, such as using prescriptive formulas based on the individual’s audiogram, using real ear measurement to verify the output of the hearing aid in the ear canal, or using subjective feedback from the individual to fine-tune the settings. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may also program different listening programs for different environments, such as quiet, noise, music, or telephone.
• Hearing aid orientation: This step involves educating and counseling the individual on how to use, care for, troubleshoot, and adjust to their hearing aids. The audiologist or the hearing instrument specialist may provide information and demonstration on topics such as how to insert and remove the hearing aids, how to change the batteries or recharge them, how to clean and maintain them, how to operate them and switch between programs, how to use accessories or assistive listening devices with them, how to cope with common issues such as feedback, occlusion, or background noise, how to communicate effectively with others using communication strategies and speech reading skills, and what to expect from their hearing aids in terms of benefits and limitations.
Hearing aid fitting and prescription is an important service that can help individuals with hearing loss improve their hearing and quality of life. It requires collaboration between professionals and patients to ensure optimal fit and function of the hearing aids. It also requires regular follow-up visits to monitor and evaluate the performance and satisfaction of the hearing aids and make necessary adjustments or repairs.