Choosing the Right Provider
No matter whom you decide to see for your hearing health care, it’s worth taking the time to get to know your provider’s credentials, experience, and philosophy before your appointment.
Does your hearing care provider or audiologist have a website with educational resources? Do they utilize social media applications, like Facebook, to spur healthier hearing conversations in your community? Do prominent sites like Google, Yelp, or Yahoo feature patient reviews of their services?
These resources can give you a clear sense of their commitment to patient satisfaction and high quality hearing care before you even have to pick up the phone.
What can you expect from the appointment process?
Your evaluation appointment with a certified hearing care provider or audiologist will help determine the nature of your hearing loss. This appointment is critical in assisting you and your provider to develop healthier hearing goals.
Choose a provider who has your best interests in mind, one who takes the time to evaluate and explain your hearing health to you in terms you understand. The basics of a hearing loss evaluation are listed below to help you prepare for your or a loved one’s appointment.
The interview creates an opportunity to voice hearing health concerns and can uncover specific areas that may require further attention. It is recommended you bring a loved one to the appointment to alleviate any communication difficulties that hearing loss can create.
The examination determines whether the perception of Sound Voids or hearing loss experienced is caused by an obstruction, like earwax buildup, or by actual damage to the ear canal or eardrum. Some providers use visual tools to make this process clearer and more empowering for the person undergoing the exam.
The Diagnostic Process
The diagnostic process should establish the type of hearing loss experienced. The diagnostic process may include tests, depending on the specific hearing loss needs that are assessed.
Follow-up Appointments and Rediscovering Better Hearing
Just as hearing loss usually occurs gradually, rediscovering healthier hearing is a process, and reaching better hearing goals takes time to accomplish. After being fit with hearing aids, most certified hearing care providers and audiologists recommend a follow-up appointment to ensure that the hearing aid technology is performing for the unique needs of the wearer. This follow-up appointment should be scheduled within 1–2 weeks of technology being fit.
Why? As the brain retrains itself to hear and understand the sounds it has been missing, the hearing care provider or audiologist can provide focused adjustments to better unify the needs of the wearer to the features of the hearing aids. This process is similar to an Orthodontist adjusting the fit of person’s braces as their teeth straighten over time. Beyond the initial post-fitting appointment, an annual appointment is recommended.
Combining a retraining program with new hearing aids can ensure the best possible integration of the technology into the life of the wearer, maximizing the value of the investment in better hearing. These programs could include aural rehabilitation, lip reading, communication enhancement, and speech therapy.
Cleaning and Check-up Appointments
To ensure hearing aid technology is functioning at its best, many reputable hearing care providers and Audiologists offer complimentary cleanings and check-ups of hearing aid systems. Dirt, earwax, and other debris can build up on these specialized pieces of technology, limiting their ability to perform at their peak. Most providers recommend that hearing aids are serviced with a clean and check at least twice annually.
Tips for Loved Ones: It Takes a Village
Hearing loss affects the entire family. Rediscovering better hearing is no different. The below tips encourage a more successful integration of better hearing into one’s life. Because hearing difficulties can create feelings of isolation and withdrawal, these recommendations promote direct engagement for a more successful better hearing experience.
- Face your loved one directly. Maintain eye contact for more direct communication.
- Get on their level. If they are sitting, have a seat. Stand when they stand.
- Refrain from talking from another room.
- Speak at a normal volume. Shouting distorts speech.
- Avoid doing things like eating, drinking, chewing gum, etc. while speaking.
- Rephrase the sentence when confusion arises. Repetition can create frustration.
- The act of listening is hard work for someone with hearing loss. They will have a harder time when they are tired or feeling ill.