Here are some tips on getting a hearing test and being fitted with hearing aids. Much of this information can be found in Consumer Reports Health..org, published in July 2009.
The first step before purchasing a hearing aid is getting a thorough hearing test. Hearing screening tests are indicators of whether further testing is needed for possible medical problems or whether a hearing aid is necessary. If an individual does not pass the screening, the person should be tested by an audiologist in a sound proof room.
The complete hearing test in the sound room consists of hearing tones through ear phones as well as through a bone conducted vibrator. Testing also includes word recognition in which the individual repeats words back that they hear through ear phones. This helps the audiologist determine if further medical evaluation is needed and how a person may benefit from a hearing aid.
The Food and Drug Administration requires that hearing be tested in a sound booth. An exception where hearing tests conducted in a person’s home is only appropriate if the person is homebound.
After it is determined that a person may benefit from hearing aids or other listening devices, a review of lifestyle and financial comfort levels should be conducted. The professional, fitting the hearing aid, should review the different levels of hearing aid technology, the different styles of hearing aids, lifestyle needs including social and professional requirements, telephone needs, dexterity for handling the hearing aid and battery. The client/patient should also be presented with a range of choice of manufacturers and pricing options. Pricing options involve the level of technology in the hearing aid, which basically refers to control of background noise as well as other features.
Hearing Impaired individuals also want to explore the level of follow-up care in their hearing health. Inquiries should be made with regards to follow-up care including the hearing aid warranty, hearing aid maintenance, subsequent hearing screenings and reprogramming. This type of follow-up hearing health care requires convenient hours of operation and a convenient business location. When hearing aids are purchased in a person’s home or other non-conventional locations such as a hotel, it is difficult to obtain follow-up care. Also make sure that the hearing professional has on display a current license to operate in the State of Michigan.
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