It’s one thing to think you need hearing aids, it’s another to actually have that thought confirmed by an audiologist. Assuming you are correct and your “diagnosis” is confirmed, the first step toward getting hearing aids comes at your first appointment with the audiologist. Once the hearing tests are over and the results discussed, your audiologist will review different types of hearing aids that work for your hearing loss and budget. Here’s what to expect if you need hearing aids.

Expect to learn about different styles

There are several styles of hearing aids and most work well with all types of hearing loss. The style that works best for you may have many of the same features as your friend’s hearing aids, but look completely different. Generally, there are four types of hearing aids:

  • Behind-the-ear hearing aids have a small case that sits behind your ear. There is a tube that hooks over the top or your ear and sits in your ear canal.
  • In-the-ear hearing aids sit in the outer portion of your ear closest to your ear canal. These are custom-fitted and can fill the lower portion of your outer ear or a larger portion.
  • In-the-canal hearing aids are partially visible and sit in the ear canal. They also are custom-fitted and are partially visible in the outer ear.
  • Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids sit further inside the ear canal. A small rod is often used to insert and remove them. They are very small and not visible.

Expect to have a hearing aid fitting

Once you and your audiologist determine the best style of hearing aids for your hearing loss, you may have ear impressions taken. Your audiologist uses a special soft material for an impression of your ear canal, which is used to make an earmold. The earmold is a custom-fitted piece to ensure that your hearing aids sit properly in your ears and fit comfortably.

Expect to have a learning curve

Just like new glasses, it takes a little time to get used to hearing aids, especially the first pair. Your audiologist will show you how to care for your hearing aids and discuss how best to acclimate to wearing them. You start slowly, wearing them at home in quieter surroundings. As you become accustomed to your units, you may hear sounds you haven’t heard in years. Then you work up to wearing them in noisier environments such as restaurants or meetings. Learning the various aspects of your hearing aids also is important so you can maximize features to talk on the phone or set your volume.

Knowing what to expect if you need hearing aids helps your first appointment go smoothly and puts you more at ease. There’s no reason to be uptight about a hearing loss diagnosis. Today’s hearing aids work better than ever to improve your hearing and are easy to wear. If you’re over 55 and haven’t had a hearing test in years, it’s time to do so now.