If you suspect you have a hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing exam. During that exam, you will undergo several hearing tests, which will determine the degree of hearing loss. Your audiologist will discuss your options, which frequently involve hearing aids. After that determination, the next step in the process is your hearing aid fitting.

Why is a hearing aid fitting a separate appointment?

While some people with hearing loss may be able to wear hearing aids that do not need customization, most hearing aids require a custom-fit. Your audiologist takes an earmold impression at your first appointment (after the hearing tests) and that mold is sent to the manufacturer, where your custom earpiece is made. You’ll get your hearing aids at your fitting appointment.

What happens at the fitting appointment?

The fitting appointment involves several things: programming the units, adjusting volume and pitch and learning about your hearing aids. Your audiologist may pre-program the hearing aids or do so during your appointment. Then audio levels are set using a “real ear measurement.” A thin tube is inserted in your ear canal to measure your eardrum’s reaction to sound volumes. Once those numbers are set, the test is performed again with your hearing aids in place. Your audiologist adjusts amplification so that you can hear soft and loud sounds comfortably.

You also will learn about your hearing aids at this appointment, reviewing how they work, how to insert and remove them and how to clean them.

Are custom-fit hearing aids comfortable?

Because the units are molded to the specific curves of your ear canal, these hearing aids are very comfortable. Some people say they forget they are wearing the devices! During the fitting appointment, your audiologist will check to make sure the units fit securely and also will examine how they feel during insertion and removal. If you feel any discomfort, tell your audiologist so adjustments can be made.

Will I Have to Make Another Appointment?

You probably will have to see the audiologist again in the next couple of weeks to make sure your hearing aids fit well and are providing the best sound. Because it takes a little time to get used to wearing hearing aids, you may notice at first that your voice or other sounds seem a little different. You’ll also hear sounds you haven’t heard in a while, such as a ticking clock. This is normal. It’s also common for some volume adjustments to be made during the follow-up appointment.

Your hearing aid fitting appointment takes about an hour. It’s a good idea to jot down any questions you may have prior to the appointment. Sometimes having a friend along helps too. When you know what to expect during your hearing aid fitting, you’ll be better prepared and more comfortable with wearing your new hearing aids.