As a consumer, the journey from finding out you have hearing loss issues and getting the essential equipment you need to prevent isolation, frustration and depression can be a complicated one. To help you get through this tricky period – and even a new world, if you like – we have formed this simple guide so that you know exactly what to expect. Here, we will take you through every step of the process to ensure you understand what is happening and retain your dignity and respect, as well as getting the perfect device for your needs.

First steps

The initial step in the process is to find out where you stand with regards to your hearing loss, treatment options, hearing aids and setting up an appointment with an audiologist. You can get a referral from your doctor, ask a family member or friend for a recommendation or simply call us here at The Hearing & Balance Centers of West Tennessee. First contact is usually over the phone, although depending on the level of your hearing loss, it might be better for you to send a message by online form.

First appointments

Buying a hearing aid is not something you should do without professional help, so it is essential to have an appointment booked with an audiologist or hearing healthcare professional. Even if you are not contemplating buying a hearing aid, it is a good idea to gather information about your condition and see what options are open to you. On arrival to your first appointment you should be greeted warmly, given plenty of educational material and fill out a few forms that are required by government and your insurance company.

The assessment

The audiologist you see should spend some time getting to know you and understanding your situation. You will have a communication assessment, an ear inspection, hearing testing and then get a full rundown of your current situation in a language you understand. At this point, your audiologist may make some recommendations of the type and style of hearing aid that might best suit your needs. You will also be given the opportunity to have a live demonstration of the aids, so that you can experience for yourself how the device can impact your hearing. Do not feel under pressure to make a decision and feel free to ask any questions that are concerning you.

Choosing your device

Most people with hearing loss will have a range of options available to them, although the worse your hearing is, the less choice you will tend to have. There are a variety of different types of aid to choose from, including completely in canal (CIC) – which are almost completely invisible to the naked eye – through to behind the ear (BTE) which are larger, but also tend to have more power. There are a few essential features to look out for, which include automatic noise level adjustment, multiple program settings, telecoils for using on audio induction loops in public places and directional microphones. You may also want to choose a hearing aid that features low-battery indicator sounds, wax guards to prevent clogging, wireless connectivity and automatic and manual volume controls. There are also a few things you need to consider when choosing your hearing aid.

The fitting

Once you decide on the right type of hearing aid, you will be asked to return for another appointment – usually within two to three weeks to leave time for your customized device to be made. Your hearing aid will be fitted, after it is made clear they are working properly. You will also be given an orientation service, where the subjects of care, maintenance, use and expectations will all be discussed. Finally, expect a wearing schedule to be explained to you – new users of hearing aids will require some time before their brains are wired to use the devices without causing discomfort.

Need more help?

The Hearing & Balance Centers of West Tennessee offers a free hearing screening & consultation service, in which we will review your hearing loss, hearing difficulties and communication environment. A discussion of your needs will follow with recommendations and solutions.

To arrange an appointment or to find answers to any of your questions about finding a hearing aid or anything else that is hearing related, please contact our Jackson office at (731) 256-5973 and our Memphis location at (901) 201-6761. We look forward to hearing from you soon.