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Many patients dealing with hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid. These tiny electronic devices can amplify sounds and often help patients hear better. Before buying a hearing aid that fits inside the ear, many patients must see an audiologist for a proper hearing aid fitting. This usually involves making an impression of the ear canal, checking the fit of the ear mold, and fine tuning the hearing aid.
After discussing the results of a patient's hearing test, an audiologist can help him decide whether a hearing aid is right for him. Sometimes, only one ear may require such a device. Other patients may need hearing aids in both ears. When this decision has been made, the doctor can then proceed with the hearing aid fitting.
To begin, the audiologist will make an impression of the patient's ear canal. This is often done by filling the canal with a soft, pliable molding substance. During this part of the hearing aid fitting, it is important the patient does not move his jaw or cough, since it can cause the impressions to be inaccurate.
After they have hardened, the impressions are sent to a laboratory. Here, special ear molds can be made. The hearing aid device will then be attached to the outside of the ear molds. The other end can then be inserted into the ear.
When attempting to insert a hearing aid into a patient's ear during a hearing aid fitting, a doctor will usually lubricate the ear canal. This allows the ear mold to slide easily into place. After it is inserted, the doctor will then ask the patient how it feels. Hearing aids that feel too tight may need to be trimmed to fit the ear canal. If a device is too loose, new impressions of the ear may need to be made.
When the hearing aid fits comfortably into the ear, it must then be programmed and fine tuned. Doctors can usually do most of this by reading the results of the patient's hearing test. When the initial tuning is complete, the doctor will then speak in a clear voice as he adjusts the volume and other settings. When the patient is able to hear clearly, he can then let the doctor know.
At the end of a hearing aid fitting, many patients will also receive a packet of information regarding their new hearing devices. Patients who are buying their first hearing aid will often find this information very useful. It can include such things as where to buy new batteries and how to install them, along with information on routine maintenance. After the initial hearing aid fitting, most doctors will recommend a follow up appointment a few weeks later. This appointment will allow the doctor to make any last necessary changes or tune ups.
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