For many of us, we’ve gone through most of our lives without ever having encountered a hearing aid consultation and fitting. What’s more, we probably won’t expect to attend more than a handful. It’s a bit like buying a new car, the first time can be intimidating and you’re thankful you don’t have to repeat the process too often.
It can help alleviate feelings of overwhelm by doing a bit of preparation. Here, we’ll give you an overview of what to expect at your hearing aid consultation.
Things to keep in mind as the day approaches
Clear your schedule for the day
Let this appointment be the only one on your calendar. You’ll be absorbing a lot of new and important information and it’s prudent to clear yourself of any other distractions in your day.
Bring a buddy
Asking a friend or family member to come along can boost your confidence, increase your comfort level and even serve as a post-appointment sounding board for future hearing aid decisions.
Expect to make multiple visits
Something as important and unique as your hearing will take more than just a standard calibration. Be flexible with the amount of follow-up visits that achieving your most enhanced possible hearing might require.
What happens at a hearing aid consultation
Your audiologist has the results of your hearing exam and have likely already found you to be a good candidate for hearing aids. They’ll sit down with you and explain a few different makes and models they recommend based upon your level and pattern of hearing loss.
Then, they’ll ask you questions about your lifestyle and needs. Taking that into consideration, the field of appropriate hearing aids will probably narrow as you share more information. Your audiologist will explain the benefits and abilities of each different option, as well as price and warranty information.
Once you’ve settled on the perfect choice for you, they’ll spend some time having you try them on and testing various settings so that they can program the hearing aids especially for you. You’ll learn basic care and maintenance of hearing aids, which require a specific routine. Before you go, they’ll chart a course with you for future follow ups and hearing health maintenance.
Questions to ask your audiologist:
- Take note of the type of hearing loss you are dealing with and its possible future directions. Ask your audiologist if they expect your hearing to maintain its current levels or decline further. What type of monitoring of your condition do they recommend?
- Do you have equal amounts of hearing loss in both ears, is it centralized to one ear or do you have different levels of hearing in each ear? Their answer has important connotations that impact whether you’ll need two hearing aids.
- Explain your primary goal in using hearing aids. Is it to make family gatherings more comfortable, seeing theatrical performances and live music or do you need more clarity when enjoying entertainment at home? Your audiologist can spend additional time making sure that the environments you need to hear clearest in are attended to.
- Contribute lifestyle factors as part of the consultation. Are you outdoors-y, super tech savvy or would you prefer a simple model that runs itself? These details all help your team narrow down the best possible choices for you.
- What does the warranty look like? Warranties vary greatly between manufacturers and it’s good to know what is covered under the one you ultimately choose. Some offer free repairs or replacement parts while some only apply to the barest essentials. This can also help you make decisions as you whittle the field down to just a few contenders.
- Do you offer educational sessions or group learning classes to help people learn to work with their hearing aids? Some offices will lend a hand with tech support free of charge or even offer classes to arm you with expertise in advance.
- What if I end up hating these hearing aids? Hearing aids can be a major investment, so it might bring some sense of calm to know that many practices offer a ‘try before you buy’ scenario. Find out about any trial periods you can take advantage of and get clear on the details of such.
- Will my insurance cover these hearing aids? In some states, insurance is required to cover some or all of the cost of hearing aids. What’s more, military veterans are entitled to free hearing aids through Veterans Affairs.