Yes. Over three and a half million Americans purchase hearing aids every year. And nearly all of those three million devices are customized in some way. These calibrations happen during a specialized meeting called a hearing aid fitting. 

A hearing aid fitting is a specific process in which a new pair of hearing aids are tailored for an individual wearer. Almost all hearing aid devices are incredibly customizable. So every new owner will get to choose from a plethora of options.

What to Expect At a Hearing Aid Fitting

A hearing aid fitting is about more than the way a hearing device sits in your ear. During a fitting session, a hearing specialist will run several diagnostics designed to make sure your hearing aids are working at peak performance. 

Before your fitting, you will have a detailed conversation with your hearing specialist about your needs and capabilities. We’ll talk about the environments in which you might commonly use your hearing aid, the type of hearing aids you’re interested in, and so on. Additionally:

  • A thorough hearing test will be conducted. This test will provide baseline settings for your hearing aid.
  • If needed, earmold impressions will be taken of your ears (this will usually occur two weeks prior to your fitting session). This will help ensure a comfortable fit.

During a typical hearing aid fitting:

  • A Real Ear test will be performed to ensure your hearing aid is providing the correct amount of amplification.
  • We will make any final adjustments needed to ensure your hearing aid is in optimum working order.
  • You and your hearing specialist will do a quick review of typical maintenance and upkeep tasks, such as how to change or charge the batteries of the hearing aid or how to sync it to your phone.

The duration of a fitting will vary depending on the nature of the appointment. In general, however, hearing aid recipients can count on an appointment that lasts somewhere between 45-120 minutes.

What Is Real Ear Measurement?

A Real Ear test or Real Ear measurement is a special diagnostic tool designed to accurately measure the volume a hearing aid produces.

During a Real Ear test:

  • A thin tube containing a tiny microphone is inserted into the ear canal.
  • The hearing aid is placed into position.
  • Diagnostic sounds are played, and the volume output from the hearing aid is measured. These diagnostic sounds will range from very quiet to very loud.
  • A hearing specialist will then ensure the output from the hearing aid is properly calibrated.
Woman receiving a real ear measurement

A Real Ear test is essential to the proper functioning of the hearing aid. Because modern hearing aids are highly customizable, this diagnostic ensures each setting is optimized for the experience of the individual wearer. A Real Ear test will tell your hearing specialist whether the amplification levels are in the right volume and frequency range for your hearing loss.

A Real Ear measurement takes much of the subjectivity out of a hearing aid fitting, which can be especially useful if you are being fitted for your first hearing aid.

Why Are Hearing Aid Fittings Important?

A proper fitting is vital for successful treatment for hearing loss. When you undergo a fitting, you help to ensure the proper function of your hearing aids, making you more likely to reap the benefits of wearing hearing aids.

Hearing aid fittings are important because:

Uncomfortable hearing aids are rarely used:

When a pair of hearing aids fail to sit in the ear comfortably, it becomes far too easy to dismiss them as “ineffective.” In this way, hearing aids that are properly fit help those with hearing loss enjoy effective treatment every day. 

Improper calibration can cause discomfort:

A hearing aid that is set to amplify too loudly can cause further damage to your hearing, not to mention create pain and discomfort. Likewise, hearing aids that are too quiet are ineffective. Both instances can lead to disillusionment and disuse, and that can have dire consequences for your long term hearing health.

Some advanced functions need to be set up properly:

We know hearing aid capabilities inside and out and can help you create settings for your most common situations. We can also help you learn how to sync it with your cell phone or TV. This will make a big difference to your quality of life and getting significant use out of your hearing aids.

A hearing aid fitting is designed to maximize the potential of any given pair of hearing aids. After all, no two pairs of ears are the same. Each individual brings unique requirements and features to the table. It’s no surprise, then, that the best hearing aids are those that are customized to be equally as unique.