One of the most important aspects of this practice is in the dispensing of hearing instruments. This section is devoted to discussion of the need for hearing aids and the rationale behind why a particular hearing aid or aids are fit. Our practice philosophy is to fit an individual with the best possible instruments available.

The fitting of a hearing instrument(s) is a process which involves a number of different factors. Some of the factors are determined by the degree and nature of hearing loss and the physical condition of the individual. Other factors which enter into the fitting process are lifestyle, monetary considerations, vanity, and psychological readiness for amplification.

It is our role as audiologists to weigh the constellation of factors that a patient brings to our practice to acheive the best possible result.

Without reliable audiometric information, hearing instrument fittings would not be possible. Of course, it is our role as audiologists to provide you with the best available diagnostic services. You will be thouroughly advised of the audiologic outcome.

There are a number of model types of hearing aids which are available from all major hearing aid manufacturers. They can generally be classified into those that are self-contained and worn all the ear and those that are fitted behind the ear with an earmold placed in the canal. Within each variety of hearing instrument there are many different designs available. It is our role as audiologists to choose the best instrument for a particular patient. A particularly good website for information about hearing instruments styles is presented by Widex, a major manufacturer of hearing instruments. The information presented is common to many manufacturers.

Once the need is established and agreed upon for a hearing instrument(s) to be fit
the actual fitting process begins. The first step in most instances is to take an earmold impression(s). This is when an impression material is syringed into the ear. When hardened, the material is removed. The impression is then used as the basis for making a hearing aid which either fits all into the ear or is used to couple a behind-the-ear instrument to the ear.

It is typical for about one to two weeks to elapse between the earmold impression
and the actual fitting of the hearing instrument(s). On the day of the fitting, the patient is instructed in wearing the instruments and also instructed about instrument maintenance. This includes cleaning, wax removal, and battery changes. Other issues are discussed as necessary. Payment in full is expected on the day of the fitting. Loss and damage warranties in this practice are typically two years.

At the end of the fitting visit, a follow-up visit is scheduled. The visit is set for about two weeks. However, if any need should arise in the interim, the patient will be seen as needed. At the time of the follow-up visit specific issues will be addressed concerning the fitting. If changes are deemed necessary, programming changes might be made or changes to the physical properties of the molds may be altered for comfort.
At the time of fitting a contractual agreement is signed by the patient and the fitting audiologist. There is a 45 day period in which the patient has the right to return the hearing aid(s) back to North Shore Audiology. This is a rare occurrence since there are many opportunities during the intervening 45 days for issues to be resolved. In addition, there are extenuating situations which arise where the 45 day period may be extended. There is a non-refundable fee which is charged if the instrument(s) are returned. The fee is explained in the original contractual agreement.
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The Fitting of Hearing Aids at North Shore Audiology
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