Hearing aid fittings for noise-​induced hearing loss

August 15, 2011 by Sébastien Lanthier

Hearing aid fittings for noise-induced hearing loss

In today’s urban, industrialized society, noise is pervasive in both the natural landscape and the workplace. Repetitive noise exposure causes irreversible damage to the auditory organ (cochlea), resulting in permanent, sensorineural hearing loss.
The CSST (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail) has set up a workers’ compensation program specifically for people who work in noisy environments. Under this program, workers can even get reimbursed for the costs of some hearing aids.

Here are the following steps if you need to be fitted with a hearing aid.

First, you’ll have to make an appointment with an audiologist, who will determine the extent of your noise-induced hearing loss. During the consultation, the audiologist will perform an audiogram and fill out the workers’ compensation form. Sixteen hours of reprieve from noise is required in order to undergo an audiogram. Once the exam is done, the audiologist will refer you to an ENT specialist to begin the process of opening your file at the CSST.

The CSST representative reviewing your file will first establish whether your hearing loss is a direct result of occupational noise exposure. If so, the ENT specialist will write up a medical report for the CSST. This report includes calculations for financial compensation (if eligible), and recommendations for binaural hearing aids (barring any medical contraindications against hearing aids).

Following the final approval of your file, the CSST representative will send you a letter inviting you to consult an audioprosthetist to choose the hearing aids best suited to your listening and communication needs.

Some hearing aid models are covered by the CSST: ITC (half-shell), BTE (behind the ear with earmold), Open Fit (behind the ear with tube and dome) or RITE-RIC (behind the ear with receiver in the ear). Since their release on the market, RITE-RIC models have become the leading choice for persons with noise-induced hearing loss. These kinds of hearing aids combine style, comfort and performance. The CSST covers the cost of one or two hearing aids, based on the recommendations made by the ENT specialist in the report rendered to the CSST.

Hearing aids can be replaced every five years. You should nevertheless contact your insurance company to insure your hearing aids against major loss or damage through your home insurance. When you receive your hearing aids, a specialized educator and your audioprosthetist will gladly explain how to have your hearing aids insured.

In addition to covering your hearing test (audiogram) and hearing aids, the CSST program also covers the cost of batteries, maintenance products, listening systems for the television (subject to certain restrictions) and many other considerations.

Do not hesitate to consult an audiologist or audioprosthetist at any Lobe Santé auditive et communication multidisciplinary clinic for more information.

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