The audiologist's goal of of the hearing aid fitting is to identify the hearing threshold at each of the various frequencies, and then raise the speech spectrum bands which fall below the patient's threshold for hearing. The speech spectrum bands are elevated by amplifying the sound in those frequencies. In this way, as much of the speech spectrum as possible occurs above the person's thresholds. Prescriptive procedures are computer assisted. Threshold data from several frequencies are entered into the computer, which converts the data from dB HL to dB SPL and the required gain and frequency response are calculated. However, fine adjustments may need to be made by the audiologist during the fitting to provide for the individual comfort needs of the patient.

In order to provide the patient with maximal benefit from the hearing aid, it is important for the audiologist to explain how to operate and maintain the aid. Follow-up appointments are critical for identifying potential problems with the fitting or the patient's adjustment to the hearing aid. Counseling and encouragement may be necessary to promote acceptance of the device. The hearing aid fitting can take up to one hour.

Using hearing aids successfully takes time and patience. Hearing aids will not restore normal hearing or eliminate background noise. Adjusting to a hearing aid is a gradual process that involves learning to listen in a variety of environments and becoming accustomed to hearing different sounds. Try to become familiar with hearing aids under non-stressful circumstances at first, then gradually incorporate more complex listening situations.

Tips post fitting:

Become familiar with your hearing aid. The audiologist will teach you to use and care for your hearing aids. Also, be sure to practice putting in and taking out the aids, cleaning, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries with the audiologist present.

The hearing aids may be uncomfortable. Ask the audiologist how long you should wear your hearing aids during the adjustment period. Also, ask how to test them in situations where you have problems hearing, and how to adjust the volume and/or program for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Your own voice may sound too lour. This is called the occlusion effect and is very common for new hearing aid users. The audiologist may or may not be able to correct this problem; however, most people get used to it over time.

Your hearing aid may "whistle." When this happens, you are experiencing feedback, which is caused by the fit of the hearing aid or by the buildup of earwax or fluid. See the audiologist for adjustments.

You may hear background noise. Keep in mind that a hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear, but there may also be a problem with the hearing aid. Discuss this with the audiologist.

Tips for caring for your hearing aids:

* Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
* Replace dead batteries immediately.
* Clean hearing aids as instructed.
* Do not use hairspray or other hair care products whilea wearing hearing aids.
* Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
* Keep replacement batteries and small aids away from children and pets.

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