What Happens at your Art of Hearing Appointments?
YOUR HEARING ASSESSMENT APPOINTMENT
Congratulations on taking this first step – a test of hearing and ear health, and review of options for help! This guide explains much of what will happen in your appointment.
We will record your health, communication and other history. This will also include a “COSI” – a list of hearing and communication situations you would like to improve, in your words.
EAR HEALTH – CANAL & “MIDDLE EAR” ASSESSMENT
Your Audiologist will look in your ear canals, then do a “tympanogram” – this tells us about the movement of your ear drum and the tiny bones of the “middle ear” (see diagram). It is not a hearing test. However, some conditions which affect your hearing may be shown e.g. excessive wax, fluid behind the ear drum, upper airway congestion (trouble with the “eustachian tubes”).
During the Tympanogram you will hear a low hum and your ears may feel like you’re descending in a plane. Please don’t talk during the test. We will explain to you what we found.
First – if you suffer from claustraphobia and would prefer us to keep the soundproof door open, please let us know.
Your will hear a series of beeps and whistles through headphones.Please press the button each time you hear these. You won’t always be sure if the softer sounds are really there – that is quite normal. Just make your best guess. We double check each of the tones, so don’t worry!
In this test you will hear a list of words. Please repeat them out aloud. Some words may be soft and unclear – please say whatever you heard, even if it was only a part of the word e.g. “ar”, “ek”.
HELP FOR HEARING LOSS & EAR CONDITIONS
Based on these tests and your day-to-day hearing needs, we will discuss options for help with you e.g. medical referral, hearing aids, wireless tools, communication tactics, other resources in Perth.
If hearing aids are chosen we may take impressions (casts) of your ears i.e. your Audiologist will insert tiny foam plugs into your ears, then a silicone paste. This will set in 3- 5 minutes. Once the impressions are removed, you can see the exact shape of your ear canals!
The tailored plugs or shells which direct amplified sound into your ear will be based on these impressions. Or, specially designed silicone “domes” will be fitted, which don’t require impressions. These options may be discussed with you.
YOUR HEARING AID FITTING APPOINTMENT
First, your Audiologist will check how comfortable and secure your aids feel. They will then be “programmed” with a computer i.e. the amplification is tuned to your hearing levels at each tone, based on a prescription formula. A number of checks, plus your ongoing opinion will be used to fine tune the aids further.
As well as clear sound for daily hearing, we may add “listening programs” for specific needs e.g. music, phone, very noisy rooms. You can choose these with either a button on the aid, a remote control or app on your phone.
Audio sources can be sent wirelessly to many hearing aid models e.g. TV, phone calls (hands free), music, computer audio. Ask your Audiologist about the compatibility of hearing aids with your household and other devices.
MANAGING HEARING AIDS & ACCESSORIES
We will work with you on managing the devices i.e. how to put aids in, clean them, change the batteries, loudness and other controls. We understand that some of these details can easily be forgotten. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to return for help days, weeks or months later if you have difficulties.
LOUDNESS DISCOMFORT ASSESSMENT
The aids will be adjusted so that the loudest sounds remain naturally loud, but not uncomfortable to you. This may be tested out with handclaps, loud speech, paper rustling, car keys etc. Tell us if you couldn’t stand hearing these for more than a few seconds. Request an appointment at any time should loudness become a problem in future.
An important way to assess the new fitting is to see what sentences and words you can hear – with and without the hearing aids. You may be asked to close your eyes, so that the value of lipreading is also shown.
“REAL EAR” MEASUREMENTS
This is a scientific measurement of the hearing aid fitting. Small silicone microphones are placed in your ears, then the hearing aids. The main sounds of conversation will come through a speaker, and be measured. We want to know how well the aids compensate for your hearing loss across the whole range of speech sounds. If this isn’t meeting your prescription, we adjust and assess the aids further.
FOLLOW UP & AFTERCARE APPOINTMENTS
You will usually notice the world’s sounds are different, once you leave the clinic with your hearing aids. A thorough assessment at your fitting appointment won’t reveal all of these. So, it’s important to let us know what you experience – what works well, what doesn’t.
There is usually more fine tuning involved for hearing aids than say, glasses. This may include modifications for soft/medium/loud sounds, the ear plug or shell in your ear, or tubing. Best use of an accessory, phone, TV or app may also be discussed.
It’s important to deal with challenges early, rather than allow the aids to spend more and more time in the top drawer! You’re always welcome back.