At that first appointment, which takes about an hour to complete, the time is split into three parts: Explanation of the process and hearing history questions; hearing test; and discussion of the results.
The first part is for us to get to know about your concerns, explain what we do and for you to get to know us, etc. The test itself is split up into three parts in which we have you responding to tones, which will tell us what you can hear from the lowest to the highest frequencies, notably within the speech spectrum of sounds; word testing which allows us to discover how well you can discriminate or understand speech; lastly is tympanometry, which tells us about the physical parts of your hearing system. The test is quite easy to do and needs no special preparation, much like an eye test. The last part is the discussion, in which we explain the results and if need be, offer solutions and strategies for better your hearing.
Like an eye exam, especially if you suspect you may need glasses, it's often a case of 'better-the-devil-you-know-than-the-one-you-don't.' The thought of getting less than desired results and needing glasses is almost always worse than actually wearing glasses. Most people, myself included, don't look forward to wearing glasses, never mind hearing aids, (which I myself need to wear in certain occasions), but realize that in the end it's not such a big deal.
As for that 'nasty-looking' piece of hardware, most hearing aids today are visually very discreet, physically almost imperceptible and with the high degree of automation now offered in today's products, they greatly limit the need for any user operated adjustments.
So there you have it: No big deal, really, it's just about motivation and in deed, how much anyone wants to put up with less than they need to put up with. Whether glasses, hearing aids or starting at the gym -people tend to put so much into thinking about what the positive results may be, and not enough into seeing what they will be.