Joel Edwards, Au.D., CCC-A, Kendell Simms, Au.D., CCC-A
Effective communication is necessary to live well. For many people, communication consists of talking and listening, which requires hearing well. For people who are hard of hearing, listening can be a challenge. A person who is hard of hearing may experience miscommunication, frustration, and even isolation. There is help for people who are hard of hearing.
Schedule a hearing exam with an audiologist to determine if you have hearing loss.
The hearing test, called an audiological evaluation, consists of a patient history, a comprehensive audiogram, and a discussion of the test results. The audiogram provides information regarding a person's ability to hear the pitches or tones that are important for hearing and understanding speech, and the clarity of the speech that is heard. The audiogram is just the first step of the audiological evaluation. An audiologist also determines the person's listening and communication needs and presents potential solutions. During the audiological evaluation, the audiologist works to understand the person's needs. This personal connection and information exchange is important when determining a hearing healthcare plan.
Hearing aids and other assistive listening devices are chosen based on a person's listening needs and hearing test results. Modern hearing aids have many different features and styles to fit the lifestyle of the device wearer.
Step 3: Individual Hearing Aid Settings Based on Patient Needs
Devices are programmed based on the results of the individual audiological evaluation – this ensures a personalized solution to degree of hearing loss.
Audiologist Tests Sound Output of Hearing Aids
The audiologist tests the sound output of the hearing aids while the patient wears them to ensure the devices provide adequate amplification.
Fitting the hearing aids to a personalized prescription ensures that a patient gets the best possible outcome with hearing aids.
Without this specialized care, a person's ability to communicate effectively may not improve. Hearing aids alone cannot solve every listening challenge and additional devices might be recommended (for example, to hear better on the phone). Also, counseling about how to improve communication in challenging environments might be necessary.
Often people compare hearing aids to glasses; however, hearing aids do not work like eyeglasses because they do not
correct the hearing loss, but
treat it. When someone gets hearing aids for the first time, there is an adjustment period as the person learns how to hear in a new way. Because of hearing loss, many amplified sounds are different than one might remember hearing before onset of hearing loss. Thankfully, a person's brain typically re-learns how to hear over a period of several weeks to several months.
The process of audiological evaluation and hearing aid fitting is highly personalized. Our audiologists specialize in meeting the needs of people who are hard of hearing and look forward to determining the best plan to help someone hear and communicate effectively. Ultimately, our goal is to help the patient reach his or her full potential and live well.