A simple hearing test, which takes about thirty minutes, can help a doctor determine if hearing problems are due to an infection, wax buildup, or damage to the ear or nerves. Wax buildup can be removed and an ongoing treatment plan can be developed to avoid future issues. An infection will need to be medically treated and a follow-up hearing test completed to know if there has been any permanent damage. If so, one or two hearing aids will be recommended.
Nerve deafness or damage to the ear is likely to require hearing devices as well to restore hearing levels. The results may indicate that only one device is needed. Having better hearing in one ear than the other is a common occurrence among those who develop a loss of hearing.
Free evaluations are offered to help patients make informed decisions regarding the choice of types and brands of aids that will best suit individual needs and preferences. Several factors are considered to match the hearing aid to the patient. The degree and cause of hearing loss, the physical structure of the ear, and lifestyle are major factors. Preferences and budget ranges are also important.
The biggest factor in the process is the participation of the patient. The professional can make suggestions, help with the right fit, and recommend brands, but the patient has to be an active participant if the process is to be successful. One of the most common reasons people stop wearing their devices is appearance. Another is incorrect fit. Both reasons can be eliminated by asking questions, voicing preferences, and being honest regarding how the device feels.
While costs will vary with strength and style, not all options are expensive. Both the test and a portion of the cost of a hearing aid may be covered by insurance. Double check with the company or agent before making the appointment for a hearing test. Advances in manufacturing and materials have reduced hearing aid pricing over the past few years.
Most people operate under the impression that they will have to invest in new devices whenever the prescription changes. That used to be the case but digital technology now makes it possible to adjust a device to accommodate certain degrees of change in the original prescription.