From food to clothing, we are happy to purchase products online. But when it comes to correcting hearing loss, the answer is not as simple as buying a hearing aid over the Internet (and for this reason, some state laws prohibit the online selling of hearing devices). There are many reasons for this, but the most compelling is if the device is not correctly adjusted to the individual’s needs, it may harm, rather than help, your hearing health.
To get the best out of your hearing and to have full confidence in your device, it pays to seek the expert opinion of an audiologist. While you may be tempted to jump straight from muffled hearing to buying a hearing aid in one go, there are several important steps in between that need to be followed.
The first is to ensure the exact nature of the hearing problem is correctly diagnosed which will provide the audiologist to recommend the best solution for your individual problem. To do otherwise means you are wasting money, rather than saving it.
Let’s take a look at those steps.
#1: Proper physical examination
During an appointment, the audiologist examines the external ear canal with magnification and light. This highlights physical problems, such as a buildup of ear wax or polyps, which interfere with hearing.
#2: Assess the nature of the hearing loss
Hearing loss can arise anywhere along the complex chain of events that converts sound waves into what we hear. From obstructions in the external canal, to fluid in the middle ear and damage to the cochlea in the inner ear, the causes are many and varied. But they don’t end there, as there can be damage to the nerve transmitting that information to the brain, or an issue in the sound processing center in the brain itself.
Through a variety of painless tests, the audiologist can determine where the problem lies and then suggest a solution.
#3: Find the right device for your needs
There are literally hundreds of different hearing devices available, each with different features, advantages, and disadvantages. Simply making a purchase based on price or on a superficial assessment of its features can be an expensive mistake.
Use the expertise of your audiologist to navigate the options and hone in on the one that is best for you.
#4: Make sure the fit is comfortable
You will wear your device for many hours at a time, so comfort is essential. An audiologist is trained in taking casts of your ear so the mold is accurate, which means a comfortable fit for you.
#5: Program the device for optimum function
These days, hearing devices are like miniature computers. To get maximum benefit it needs to be programed, and your audiologist is key to this. They can make those small but vital adjustments that mean a big difference to the clarity of your hearing.