for Prospective Hearing Aid Wearers
Good health practice requires that a person with a hearing loss have a medical evaluation by a licensed physician (preferably a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear) before purchasing a hearing aid. A licensed physician who specializes in diseases of the ear is often referred to as otolaryngologist, otologist, or otorhinolaryngologist. Medical evaluation ensures that all medically treatable conditions that may affect hearing are identified and treated before the hearing aid is purchased.
Following the medical evaluation, the physician will give you a written statement that states that your hearing loss has been medically evaluated and that you may be considered a candidate for a hearing instrument. The physician will refer you to an audiologist or a hearing instrument dispenser, as appropriate, for a hearing aid evaluation.
The audiologist or hearing health professional will conduct a hearing test to assess your ability to hear with and without a hearing aid.
Hearing tests enable the audiologist or professional to select and fit a hearing aid to your individual needs.
If you have reservations about your ability to adapt to amplification, you should inquire about the availability of a trial-rental or purchase-option program. Many hearing aid dispensers now offer programs that, after your hearing loss test, permit you to wear a hearing aid for a time in exchange for a nominal fee, after which you may decide if you want to purchase the hearing aid.
Federal law restricts the sale of hearing aids to those individuals who have obtained medical evaluation from a licensed physician. Federal law permits a fully informed adult to sign a waiver statement declining the medical evaluation for religious or personal beliefs that preclude consultation with a physician. The exercise of such a waiver is not in your best health interest and its use is strongly discouraged.
A hearing aid will not restore normal hearing and will not prevent or improve a hearing impairment resulting from organic conditions.
The use of a hearing aid is only part of hearing rehabilitation and may need to be supplemented by auditory training and instruction in lip reading. Consistent use of the hearing aid is recommended. In most cases, infrequent use prevents you from attaining the full benefits of wearing a hearing aid.