Focused On Care

Evaluation for Hearing Aids

The Hearing Aid Evaluation Process: What to Expect

Step 1: Diagnostic Testing

The first step to better hearing health is to see your audiologist for a diagnostic hearing test.  At this appointment, Dr. Polcari will discuss your hearing complaints, perform a physical examination of your ears, and perform a hearing test.  After the testing is complete, Dr. Polcari will sit with your to explain your results and discuss how your hearing loss may be impacting your day to day life.  To learn more about diagnostic audiometry and what to expect during a hearing test, click here.

Step 2: Hearing Aid Consultation

If you have been tested and diagnosed with a hearing loss, hearing aids may be recommended.  During the hearing aid consultation, our audiologist, Dr. Polcari, and guide you through the different models, styles, and technology options of modern hearing aids.

You are unique, and so are your hearing needs.  Unlike glasses, there is no simple prescription to return your hearing back to “20/20”.  The right hearing aids for you will depend on several factors including the type of hearing loss you have, severity of hearing loss, your speech clarity score, the size and shape of your ear canal, your lifestyle and hobbies, and your interest in iPhone or Android compatibility.  During your hearing aid consultation appointment, Dr. Polcari will talk with you about your lifestyle, desires, and needs and will help guide you through the process of elimination to determine what options are best for you.

Some common hearing and hearing aid myths and misconceptions:

“Hearing aids are too expensive”

Hearing aids are not an indulgence, they are a necessity.  They are an investment in your health, future, and quality of life.  There a variety of options to fit your individual needs and budget. 

“I’m not ready to get hearing aids”

There are serious consequences for people who postpone treatment for hearing loss.  Hearing loss should be treated like any other health problem.  Many people wait too long (seven years on average) to get their hearing aids, which can often be too late.  Hearing loss is most often progressive and coincides with a decline in speech understanding.  Wearing amplification helps keep the ear healthy and can prevent   decline in the ability of the ear and brain to process speech clearly.

“Nothing can be done for my hearing”

95% of people with hearing loss can benefit from a hearing aid.  The longer you wait to wear hearing aids, the more permanent damage is done.

“Hearing aids will make me look old”

Hearing loss is not a geriatric issue. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, an estimated 48 million people live with hearing loss in the U.S., and about two-thirds are under 65 years old. 

For adults suffering from hearing loss, often not wearing hearing aids can make someone look "old". Many people with hearing loss often have trouble following conversations and often misunderstand what people say.  Incorrectly responding to people, asking people to repeat themselves, or retreating from conversations can often make people look like they are struggling to keep up.  Wearing hearing aids allows people to better participate in social activities and conversation, just like someone with normal hearing.

“If people would speak up and stop mumbling I would be fine”

Hearing loss usually develops gradually, making it difficult for individuals to recognize they have a problem.  It is even very common for the friends and family of those with hearing loss to be the ones who identify a problem exists.  Often those who complain about other’s mumbling simply have a hearing loss, and therefore cannot hear other’s clearly.

“My hearing is normal for my age”

There is no such thing as normal hearing for your age.  You either have normal hearing or a hearing loss. 

“Hearing aids make annoying squealing sounds”

Hearing aids are now digital and technologically advanced.  They have complex feedback cancellation processing to stop whistling noises often associated with older hearing aids.

"Hearing aids are ugly and uncomfortable"

Modern hearing aids are smaller, more comfortable, and more cosmetically appealing than ever before.   Today’s hearing aids are often very difficult to see. 

"Hearing aids don’t work"

The benefit that you will get from a hearing aid depends on many different factors.  The most important factor being the health of your ears.  The longer you wait to treat your hearing loss, the more damage is done to your ear and brain’s ability to process speech properly.  Once your hearing has been evaluated, our audiologist, Dr. Polcari will explain your hearing health and what you can expect from wearing hearing aids.

Your hearing aid experience will not be the same as your friends. There are many factors that will determine an individual’s success with hearing aids. Some of these factors include hearing loss type and severity, speech understanding ability, the type of amplification device being used, and the level of expertise of the professional fitting the device.   In addition, devices fit through the mail, TV ads, or devices fit through a dispensing service are not the same as what is offered by a Doctor of Audiology.  If someone you know is not happy or is unsuccessful with hearing their aids, that is not an indicator that they are not right for you.

"I’ll know within a few days if I like my hearing aids”

Adjusting to hearing aids takes time. The brain often needs to adjust to hearing and processing sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time.  Dr. Polcari will guide you through the adjustment process and what to expect long-term.

Step 3:  Hearing aid fitting

If you have been diagnosed with a hearing loss and have decided on a solution that is right for you, the appropriate devices and parts will be ordered.  The hearing aids then must be fit for your individual comfort, hearing loss specifications and lifestyle needs.  The day you are fit with your hearing aids, a trial period begins.  This allows you to use the devices in real life environments to ensure the device you chose is right for you.   To learn more about the fitting process and trial period, click here.