Congrats! Modern hearing aids are an amazing piece of technology, and you’ve recently become the proud owner of a shiny new set. But new hearing aid owners will wish someone had told them certain things, just like with any new technology.
Let’s look at nine typical mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how you can steer clear of them.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
Or, more specifically, understand how your hearing aid works. The hearing experience will be significantly improved if you know how to use advanced features for different settings like on the street, at the movies, or in a restaurant.
Your wireless devices, including smartphones and televisions can most likely sync wirelessly to your hearing aids. It might also have a setting that makes phone conversations clearer.
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 outside sounds.
Practice using your hearing aid in different places in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Ask a friend or family member to help you so you can test how well you can hear.
After a little practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. Simply turning the volume up and down won’t even come close to providing the hearing experience that utilizing these more advanced features will.
2. Expecting immediate improvement in your hearing
Consistent with number one, many new hearing aid users think their hearing will be optimal as they walk out of the office. This assumption is normally not how it works. Some people say it takes a month or more before they are entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But don’t get frustrated. The time you take is well worth it according to those who are persistent.
Give yourself a few days, after getting home, to get accustomed to your new situation. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You might need to use it in short intervals.
Start by just quietly talking with friends. It can be a bit disorienting initially because people’s voices may sound different. Ask your friends if you’re talking too loud and make the necessary adjustments.
Slowly start to go to new places and use the hearing aid for more extended periods of time.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have lots of wonderful hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Being untruthful about your level of hearing loss at your hearing exam
Responding honestly to the questions during your hearing test will assure you get fitted with the correct hearing aid technology.
Go back and get another test if you realize you may not have been completely honest after you get your hearing aids. Getting it right the first time is better. The hearing aid type and style that will be ideal for you will be determined by the degree and kind of hearing loss you have.
As an example, people with hearing loss in the high frequency range will require a particular type of hearing aid. Others are better for people with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Neglecting to have your hearing aid fitted
Your hearing aids need to manage a few requirements at once: They need to effectively boost sound, they need to be simple to put in and take out, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. Your hearing aid fitting is intended to properly calibrate all three of those factors for your individual needs.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you might:
- Have your hearing tested to identify the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
Once you’ve been fitted, it’s worthwhile to take notes on how your hearing aid feels and performs. Make a note if you are having a hard time hearing in a large room. If your right ear feels tighter than your left, make a note of that. Even note if everything feels right on. This can help us make custom, tiny changes to help your hearing aids reach optimum comfort and effectiveness.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll use your hearing aids
Some hearing aids are water-resistant. Others, however, can be damaged or even ruined by water. Maybe you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
You might ask our opinion but the choice is yours. Only you know what advanced features you’ll actually use and that’s worth investing in because if the hearing aids don’t fit in with your lifestyle you won’t use them.
You’ll be wearing your hearing aid for quite a while. So you don’t want to regret settling when you really would have benefited from a certain function.
A few more things to contemplate
- You might prefer something that is very automated. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of individual. Is an extended battery life important to you?
- Speak with us about these things before your fitting so you can be certain you’re completely satisfied.
- How visible your hearing aid is might be something you’re worried about. Or perhaps you want to wear them with style.
During the fitting process we can deal with many of the challenges with regards to lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. Also, you might be able to demo out your hearing aids before you commit to a purchase. This trial period will help you figure out which brand will be best for your needs.
7. Not properly maintaining your hearing aids
Moisture is a real issue for most hearing aids. You may want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an extremely humid location. It’s a bad idea to store your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take showers.
Consistently wash your hands before touching the hearing aid or batteries. The performance of your hearing aid and the duration of its battery can be effected by the oils normally found in your skin.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to collect earwax and skin cells. Instead, clean it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Taking simple steps like these will improve the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Failing to keep a set of spare batteries
Frequently, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid owners learn this one. When you’re about to find out who did it at the critical moment of your favorite show, your batteries die without warning.
Like most electronics, battery life fluctuates depending on how you use it and the external environment. So always keep a spare set of batteries handy, even if you recently replaced them. Don’t let an unpredictable battery cause you to miss out on something significant.
9. Neglecting your hearing exercises
When you first purchase your hearing aids, there might be a presumption, and it’s not always a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the heavy lifting. But the parts of your brain responsible for interpreting sound are also affected by hearing loss not only your ears.
You can start to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain connections after you get your new hearing aids. For some individuals, this may happen quite naturally and this is particularly true if the hearing loss developed recently. But other people will need a more focused plan to restore their ability to hear. The following are a couple of common strategies.
Reading out loud
One of the most efficient ways you can recreate those pathways between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. It might feel a little 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 keep practicing.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of reading something out loud yourself, then you can always go the audiobook route. You can purchase (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version together. Then as the audiobook plays, you can read along. You’ll hear a word as 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 understanding) speech again.