It seems as if it’s becoming more difficult to hear certain sounds, and family and friends say they have to repeat themselves when speaking to you. You suspect you may have some hearing loss and want to consult with a specialist about hearing aids. Here’s what to expect at a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) appointment.

What is a hearing instrument specialist?

An HIS is a licensed and trained person specializing in hearing tests and hearing aid fittings. Also known as hearing aid specialists or hearing aid practitioners, the HIS programs and dispenses hearing aids and may work in conjunction with an audiologist.

Lifestyle and health history

First, the HIS will evaluate your lifestyle. Do you work outdoors? Do you visit restaurants often? Are you athletic? These answers all help to narrow down the type of hearing aid that will best suit your lifestyle.

Next, the HIS will ask questions about your health and hearing history. Do you take medications? Is there a history of hearing loss in your family? Do your ears ring? Were you exposed to loud noises due to your work or hobbies? This information provides a guideline for the HIS to find the right hearing aid for your needs.

Hearing evaluation and results

After the consultation, the HIS will perform a variety of hearing tests. Once completed, the results will be charted and the HIS will review your hearing ability in each ear. These results determine the specifics of your hearing loss, such as missing sounds in a high range or having difficulty hearing in noisy places. The HIS also will examine your ear canal with an otoscope.

Hearing aid fittings

Once the tests are completed and you’ve discussed the results, the hearing instrument specialist will recommend different types of hearing aids for you to try. Comfort and cost are important when it comes to selecting hearing aids and the HIS can show you several styles in different price ranges. Some styles are worn behind the ear and may be fitted the same day as your hearing test. Other hearing aids are worn inside the ear and require a custom fit. The hearing instrument specialist will take earmolds so those units fit properly.

The HIS also will program your hearing aids and teach you how to clean and maintain your units. You will return for regular visits to make sure your hearing aids work, fit well and continue to serve your needs.

A hearing instrument specialist is able to help many people who have hearing loss. They are trained to work with specialized testing equipment and provide detailed information about hearing aids. An HIS also fits hearing aids and provides counseling regarding hearing loss.