Congrats! Modern hearing aids are an impressive piece of technology, and you’ve just become the proud owner of a shiny new pair. But, just like with all new devices, there will be things that hearing aid owners wish somebody had told them.
Let’s go over nine common mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how to steer clear of them.
1. Failing to comprehend hearing aid functionality
Or, more specifically, understand how your hearing aid works. It probably has unique features that considerably improve the hearing experience in different settings such as restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
It might be able to connect wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. In addition, it might have a special setting that helps you hear on the phone.
If you use this advanced technology in such a basic way, without understanding these features, you can easily get stuck in a rut. Modern hearing aids do more than simply raise the volume of external sounds.
Practice using your hearing aid in different settings in order to learn how to get the clearest sound quality. Test out how well you hear by asking a friend or family member to assist you.
After a bit of practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. Simply raising and lowering the volume won’t even come close to providing the hearing experience that using these more sophisticated features will.
2. Expecting immediate improvement in your hearing
Consistent with number one, many new hearing aid owners think their hearing will be perfect as they walk out of the office. This isn’t a correct assumption. Some people say it takes a month or more before they’re entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. The time you take is well worth it according to those who are diligent.
After you get home, give yourself a couple of days to get used to the new situation. It won’t be that much different than breaking in new shoes. Usually, you will need to go slow and use your new hearing aids a little at a time.
Start in a quiet setting with a friend where you are just talking. It can be somewhat disorienting initially because voices may sound different. Ask about the volume of your own voice and make 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 lots of wonderful hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Not being honest about your level of hearing loss at your hearing exam
In order to be sure you get the proper hearing aid technology, it’s crucial to answer any questions we may ask truthfully.
Go back and get another test if you realize you may not have been completely honest after you get your hearing aids. Getting it straight the first time is better. The hearing aid type and style that will be best for you will be determined by the degree and kind of hearing loss you’re experiencing.
As an example, people with hearing loss in the high frequency range will require a specific type of hearing aid. People who have mid-range hearing loss will need different technology and etc.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
There are numerous requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously juggle: They need to efficiently boost sound, they need to be easy to put in and take out, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. All three of those variables will be resolved during your fitting.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you might:
- Undergo hearing tests to adjust the appropriate power for your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
After you’ve been fitted, it’s important to take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels. Make a note if you are having difficulty hearing in a big room. If your right ear seems tighter than your left, note that. Even make a note if everything feels great. 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
Water-resistant hearing aids are available. However, water can seriously damage others. Maybe you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
You can ask our opinion but the decision must be yours. You won’t use your hearing aid if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle and only you know what features you will use.
You and your hearing aid will be together for a number of years. So if you really need certain features, you don’t want to settle for less.
Some other things to take into consideration
- To be completely satisfied, talk about these preferences before your fitting.
- You might care about whether people can see your hearing aid. Or, you might want to make a bold statement.
- You might prefer something that is extremely automated. Or perhaps you like having more control over the volume. How much battery life will you require?
Many challenges that come up with regards to fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be addressed through the fitting process. In addition, many hearing aid manufacturers will allow you to demo the devices before deciding. During this test period, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether a particular brand of hearing aid would fit the bill.
7. Not properly taking care of your hearing aids
Most hearing aids are really sensitive to moisture. You may want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an extremely humid location. Keeping your hearing aid in the bathroom where people bathe may not be the best idea.
Always wash your hands before handling the hearing aid or batteries. The performance of your hearing aid and the longevity of its battery can be effected by the oils normally present in your skin.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells accumulate on the hearing aid. Instead, clean it based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
The life and function of your hearing aid will be increased by taking these basic steps.
8. Not having spare batteries
New hearing aid wearers often learn this lesson at the worst times. Suddenly, when you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries die just as you’re about to discover “who done it”.
Like most electronics, battery life varies depending on your usage and the external environment. So always keep a spare set of batteries handy, even if you recently changed them. Don’t miss out on something important because of an unpredictable battery.
9. Not practicing your hearing exercises
When you first purchase your hearing aids, there may be a presumption, and it’s not always a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the work. But it’s not just your ears that are affected by hearing loss, it’s also the parts of your brain responsible for interpreting all those sounds.
Once you’ve got your hearing aids, you’ll be able to begin the work of rebuilding some of those ear-to-brain pathways and links. For some individuals, this might happen quite naturally and this is especially true if the hearing loss developed recently. But for others, a deliberate strategy may be required to get your hearing firing on all cylinders again. The following are a couple of prevalent strategies.
Reading out loud
Reading out loud is one of the easiest ways to restore those connections between your ears and your brain. It may feel a bit foolish at first, but don’t allow that to stop you. You’re practicing reconnecting the feeling of saying words with the sounds they make. Your hearing will get better and better as you continue practicing.
You can always try audiobooks if reading out loud isn’t attractive to you. 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 as you’re reading it just like reading out loud. And that helps the hearing-and-language part of your brain get used to hearing (and making sense of) speech again.