There are many steps that are part of a hearing aid evaluation. If you suspect that you might need hearing aid(s), 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. During the history taking part of your appointment, 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 hearing care professional with an outline of what sounds you may be missing or hearing, but the personal answers about your daily life and perception about your hearing provide the basis for a more comprehensive hearing evaluation. You may be referred to a medical doctor specializing in disorders of the ear if it appears that there may be a medical condition your audiologist thinks should be addressed before hearing aids are recommended. This referral can often be the first step in the hearing aid evaluation.
If your hearing test reveals a permanent hearing loss, a hearing aid may be recommended for one or both of your ears depending upon your unique hearing loss. Your audiologist will explain what sounds you are not hearing and what hearing aid(s) can do to help. It is usually at this appointment that you will get to see and touch different styles of hearing aids. Your audiologist will help you choose the best hearing aid style, features and level of sophistication based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial circumstances. The final decision on which hearing aid(s) purchased is 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 must be ordered from a manufacturer by the hearing professional. Then he or she will program them to meet your specific hearing needs. This process can take a couple of weeks, so do not be disappointed when you do not receive your hearing aids the same day as your evaluation.