Congratulations! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – an incredible piece of modern tech. But, as with any new device, there are things that hearing aid wearers wish somebody had told them.
Let’s look at nine typical mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how to steer clear of them.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
To put it simply, learn your hearing aid’s features. The hearing experience will be dramatically improved if you know how to use advanced features for different settings like on the street, at the movies, or in a restaurant.
It may be able to sync wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It may also have a setting that makes phone calls clearer.
If you don’t learn about these features, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-advanced hearing aid in a basic way. Modern hearing aids do more than simply raise the volume of external sounds.
To get the clearest and best sound, take some time to practice using the hearing aid in different places. Check out how well you hear by getting a friend or family member to help you.
As with anything new, it will get easier after a little practice. And your hearing experience will be 10X better than when you simply raise and lower the volume.
2. Expecting instant improvement in your hearing
It’s not uncommon for a new hearing aid users to think that their hearing will be optimal from day one. This assumption is normally not how it works. Some say it takes a month or more before they’re entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But don’t get frustrated. They also say it’s very worth it.
After you get home, give yourself a couple of days to get used to the new situation. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You may need to wear it in short intervals.
Begin by just talking quietly with friends. It can be somewhat disorienting initially because voices may sound different. Ask your friends if you’re talking too loud and make the required adjustments.
Slowly start to visit new places and use the hearing aid for longer periods of time.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have many wonderful hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Not being truthful about your degree of hearing loss during your hearing appointment
In order to be sure you get the right hearing aid technology, it’s important to answer any questions we may ask honestly.
If you already have your hearing aid and realize that perhaps you weren’t as honest as you could have been, come back and ask to be retested. But it’s better if you get it right the first time. The degree and kind of hearing loss will identify the hearing aid styles that will work best for you.
As an example, people with hearing loss in the high frequency range will need a particular type of hearing aid. People who have mid-range hearing loss will call for different technology and etc.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
Your hearing aids need to juggle several requirements at once: they need to be comfortable on or in your ears, they need to be simple to put in and remove, and they need to boost the sounds around you effectively. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
When you’re getting fitted, you may:
- Undergo hearing tests to adjust the appropriate power for your hearing aid.
- Have your ears accurately measured or have molds made (or both).
5. Not tracking your results
After you’ve been fitted, it’s worthwhile to take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels. If you have difficulty hearing in big rooms, make a note of that. Make a note if one ear feels tighter than the other. If everything feels great, make a note. With this knowledge, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it works at peak efficiency and comfort.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll use your hearing aids
Some hearing aids are water-resistant. Others, however, can be damaged or even destroyed by water. Some have advanced features you may be willing to pay more for because you enjoy certain activities.
We can give you some suggestions but you must decide for yourself. Only you know which advanced features you’ll actually use and that’s worth committing to because if the hearing aids don’t work with your lifestyle you won’t wear them.
You’ll be wearing your hearing aid for quite a while. So if you really need certain features, you shouldn’t settle for less.
A few more things to contemplate
- How noticeable your hearing aid is may be important to you. Or, you might want to make a bold statement.
- To be completely satisfied, talk about these preferences before your fitting.
- You may want something that is extremely automated. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of individual. Is a longer battery life important to you?
During the fitting process we can address many of the challenges with regards to lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. In addition, many hearing aid brands will allow you to try out the devices before making a decision. This demo period will help you determine which brand will be best for your requirements.
7. Not correctly maintaining your hearing aids
Most hearing aids are really sensitive to moisture. If where you live is very humid, acquiring a dehumidifier might be worth the money. Storing your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers is a bad idea.
Always wash your hands before touching the hearing aid or batteries. Oils encountered normally on your hand can impact how well the hearing aid functions and the duration of the batteries.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells accumulate on the hearing aid. Instead, the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning procedures should be followed.
The life and function of your hearing aid will be increased by taking these basic steps.
8. Not getting spare batteries
Often, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. All of a sudden, while you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries quit just as you’re about to learn “who done it”.
Like most electronics, battery life fluctuates depending on your usage and the outside environment. So even if you just changed your batteries, keep a spare set with you. Don’t let an unpredictable battery cause you to miss something important.
9. Not practicing your hearing exercises
You might assume that your hearing aids will do all of the work when you first purchase them. But it’s not just your ears that are affected by hearing loss, it’s also the regions of your brain in charge of interpreting all those sounds.
You can start to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain pathways after you get your new hearing aids. This may happen quite naturally for some individuals, particularly if the hearing loss was somewhat recent. But other people will need a more structured plan to rebuild their ability to hear. The following are a couple of prevalent strategies.
Reading out loud
One of the best ways you can recreate those connections between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. It may feel a bit silly at first, but don’t let that stop you. You’re doing the essential work of linking the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). Your hearing will get better and better as you continue practicing.
If you don’t like the idea of reading something out loud yourself, then you can always try audiobooks. You can buy (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version together. Then, you read along with the book as the audiobook plays. You’ll hear a word while you’re reading it just like reading out loud. And that helps the hearing-and-language region of your brain get accustomed to hearing (and making sense of) speech again.