Choosing and Fitting Hearing Aids
Once the physician or nurse practitioner and audiologist determine that a hearing aid would be appropriate for you, and once you have decided to pursue amplification, your next step will be to schedule a hearing aid evaluation appointment.
Hearing Aid Evaluation Appointment
At UW Hospital and Clinics, we see a large number of patients who live outside of the Madison area. If you live outside of the Madison area, we frequently recommend you schedule the hearing aid evaluation at a facility close to your home.
Hearing aids are similar to other types of electronic instruments in that they may need frequent service and care. Some individuals also need adjustment and changes made to their hearing aids that may require several follow-up appointments with their hearing aid dispenser.
We have also found that our patients find it helpful to bring a friend or relative with them to the hearing aid evaluation. You will receive a wealth of information regarding hearing aids, prices and purchasing policies at this appointment. It is often beneficial to have a "second set of ears" at this appointment to help you remember the information that was discussed.
You are not required to purchase a hearing aid at this time. This appointment is valid for up to six months. After six months you will be required to undergo a new audiological evaluation and medical examination.
Styles of Hearing Aids
There are several different styles of hearing aids and many different brands of hearing aids on the market. Not all types of hearing instruments are suitable for all hearing losses, or all people.
During the hearing aid evaluation, the audiologist will discuss the various types of hearing aids with you. The appropriate style, brand and characteristics of the hearing aids will be determined based upon your hearing loss as well as your preferences and specific needs.
The audiologist will take an impression or cast of your ears so that the hearing aids will be custom fit. Some additional testing may also be administered to further define your hearing loss.
The ear impressions are then sent to the laboratory and your hearing aids will be ordered. You will be informed of the cost for professional services as well as the cost of the hearing instruments on the day of the evaluation.
It generally takes two to three weeks for the hearing instruments to arrive from the manufacturer. At that time you will need to return to your audiologist for your hearing aid dispensing and fitting appointment.
Hearing Aid Dispensing and Fitting
Your hearing aids will be custom-fit to your ears. Adjustments and modifications will be made to optimize hearing performance, sound quality and comfort. At this time, you will be instructed on the use and care of the devices. You will be provided with batteries for your trial period.
At UW Hospital and Clinics, we require full payment for the hearing aids at the time of your fitting. Other facilities may have different payment arrangements.
According to Wisconsin state law, you will be allowed a minimum of 30 days to try your new hearing aids. During the trial period, you should wear the hearing aids in as many different listening situations as possible.
You should also wear the hearing aids as much as possible, so you can make a decision as to whether the hearing aids are helpful. If you find that you are not satisfied with your hearing aids, your audiologist may be able to make adjustments to them. He or she may also suggest a trial period with a different hearing aid.
If at the end of your trial period you are still not satisfied with the hearing aids, by Wisconsin state law you may return the hearing aids for a refund, less a fee for professional services provided during the trial period. In addition, custom-made earmolds, which are used with behind-the-ear hearing aids, are generally non-refundable.
If you have further questions regarding this process, please feel free to call one of our audiologists at (608) 263-6190.