There are many steps that are part of a hearing aid evaluation. If you suspect that you might need a hearing aid, you will first need to have a hearing evaluation. At the time of the hearing evaluation, a case history will be taken to determine how much your hearing problem impacts your day-to-day life as well as the lives of your family. A complete case history will be taken, and questions will be asked about when and how the hearing loss started, if there is ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and if you experience dizziness. You may also have to provide some basic questions about your general health history.
The results from your hearing test will provide the audiologist an outline of what sounds you are having difficulty hearing, but the personal answers about your daily life and perception about your hearing provide the basis for a more comprehensive hearing evaluation. When making recommendations for hearing aids, the audiologist will not only take into consideration the degree of hearing loss a patient has, but also how demanding their listening needs are and what scenarios they encounter. You may also be referred to a medical doctor specializing in disorders of the ear if you are a candidate for hearing aids or if there are other medical conditions your audiologist thinks should be addressed before hearing aids are recommended. This referral can often be the first step in the hearing aid examination.
If your hearing test reveals a permanent hearing loss, hearing aids may be recommended. Your audiologist may explain what sounds you are not hearing and what hearing aids can do to help improve your quality of life. It is usually at this appointment that you will get to see and touch different styles of hearing aids. In some cases, you may even be able to listen to a hearing aid. Your audiologist will help you choose the best hearing aid styles, features and level of technology that would best suit your needs based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial circumstances. While the audiologist is there to guide you and make recommendations as to what would be the best hearing aid solution for you, the final decision on which hearing aids are purchased is ultimately your choice.
Once you make a decision, the audiologist may take impressions of your ears if you selected custom hearing aids or behind-the-ear hearing aids that require earmolds. Hearing aids are ordered from a manufacturer and then programmed by your audiologist to meet your specific hearing needs. This process can take a few weeks, so do not be disappointed when you do not receive your hearing aids the same day as your evaluation.