The ability to hear different sounds is the most important human ability. With hearing loss, a person loses contact with society and suffers from both physical and psychological problems.
According to statistics, more than 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Fortunately, today they can use specialized devices to compensate for their hearing impairment. These are hearing aids. Today, there are many devices available, differing in not only type, shape, and color but in functionality. However, it’s not enough just to choose and buy hearing aids. They need to be properly adjusted for effective and comfortable for daily use. Let’s take a closer look at this important step on the road to hearing loss recovery.
Why is hearing aid customization important?
A hearing aid is a complex electronic device with unique features. It separates the useful speech signal from the noise and amplifies it. Like any complex technical device, a hearing aid requires customization and adaptation for a specific person.
Each person is unique, as is their history of hearing loss. Therefore, you won’t be able to use your hearing aid 100% out of the box. Hearing aid settings allow the audiologist to customize the device for each case, letting the patient use the device to its fullest.
The question of how to fit a hearing aid usually worries people who use such a device for the first time. Correct device setup is of great importance. Otherwise, it’ll distort sounds and cause discomfort to the person. There is a chance that the patient will form a misconception about the functionality of the device. Hearing aid fitting is an essential step on the road to hearing loss recovery.
A hearing aid is a microcomputer that requires software to function. I’d like to point out that manufacturers install standard hearing aid programs. They automatically adjust the volume in response to the external environment. For example, a hearing aid will decrease the volume in a quiet environment and, conversely, increase it in a noisy one.
How do I fit my hearing aids?
To begin with, I want to note that a person with hearing problems should consult a specialist for the correct selection of a hearing aid. Of course, everyone can buy the model they like at retail or even online, for example, by ordering from Amazon. However, in this case, you may not get the desired result and remain with poor hearing.
How to choose the right device from the available hearing aid models? The audiologist selects a model based on the hearing test results and the resulting audiogram. In addition, the specialist takes into account the patient’s wishes, lifestyle, and budget/hearing aid prices. Thanks to this approach, a person gets the most suitable device that is comfortable for daily wear.
After proper selection of the hearing aid, the next important step is hearing aid customization. Usability will depend on how accurately the device is configured. With a well-chosen and correctly tuned device, a person will feel more confident and comfortable. The combination of these factors allows you to quickly adapt to the device. Device configuration includes the following steps:
Initial setting. The doctor builds on the hearing test results when performing the first settings. Using the audiogram, the expert will set the necessary settings in such a way as to compensate only those sounds that the patient doesn’t hear, without increasing the volume of all other sounds
Initial adaptation. The person needs to get used to the hearing aid
Testing with hearing aids to make sure they are working properly for your hearing loss.
After several days of testing, the patient comes to the audiologist and shares the experience. The audiologist will adjust the settings accordingly.
Further adaptation. It won’t take long to get used to a well-tuned device. If the patient is satisfied with the device’s operation, a return visit to the audiologist will only be required for a routine hearing check
After setting up each hearing aid, the audiologist conducts special tests, including those on speech intelligibility and sound comfort. Now, the patient can choose the desired setting for each program, which is suitable in terms of volume and sound quality, and with which it’ll be comfortable to use the device in certain situations. For example, you can use one program for listening to music and another for work.
The hearing aid restores the ability to hear sounds that a person has lost even over the years. Many of them will be new and unusual. Therefore, putting on the device for the first time, you should be prepared for a variety of sounds, some of which have even been erased from your memory. At the same time, it is important to understand that each person gets used to new abilities individually.
After a few weeks of using the hearing aid, the patient should visit an audiologist. The doctor will ask the necessary questions and, if necessary, carry out additional testing and adjustments.
When is hearing aid customization required?
If the hearing aid is incorrectly adjusted, the user may experience unpleasant consequences that complicate their use. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro recommends re-performing the hearing aid customization in the following cases:
Change in Hearing impairment or improvement of hearing
Strong background noises causing rapid fatigue and headaches
Change in audibility
Inability to make out speech in an environment close to ideal (one speaker in a quiet environment)
The appearance of crackling, clicks, and other noises
Installing a new earmold
These effects are similar to the experience of using a hearing aid in the first month. However, they are more pronounced. The daily use of unconfigured devices is exhausting to a person mentally and physically. Further use of the hearing aid isn’t possible in this case.
If you are faced with such an unpleasant situation, don’t delay a visit to an audiologist. Audiology Island has extensive experience in hearing aids. Our hearing care professionals have helped thousands of Americans get their hearing back with hearing aids. We are especially proud of the TeleAudiology technology. With its help, we can customize your hearing aids remotely. This is especially useful during these challenging times. You don’t even need to visit our offices to get your devices back in working order.
Remember that a hearing aid is a complex technological device that requires fine-tuning. Hearing aid customization is a subtle and even creative process. The quality of your life, as well as hearing preservation, will depend on its accuracy!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]