Congratulations! Modern hearing aids are an amazing piece of technology, and you’ve just become the proud owner of a shiny new set. But, as with all new devices, there are things that hearing aid owners wish someone had told them.
Let’s look at nine common mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how you can steer clear of them.
1. Failing to understand hearing aid functionality
Or, more specifically, understand how your hearing aid works. The hearing experience will be greatly enhanced 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 connect wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It may also have a setting that makes phone conversations clearer.
If you don’t learn about these functions, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-sophisticated hearing aid in a rudimentary way. Hearing aids nowadays can do more than make the sound louder.
Practice wearing your hearing aid in different settings in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Ask a family member or friend to help you so you can check how well you can hear.
After a bit of practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. And your hearing experience will be much better than when you simply raise and lower the volume.
2. Expecting immediate improvement in your hearing
In line with number one, many new hearing aid users think their hearing will be optimal as they leave the office. This isn’t a correct assumption. It usually takes up to a month for most new users to get comfortable with their new hearing aids. But don’t get discouraged. The time you take is well worth it according to those who are persistent.
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. You may need to use it in short intervals.
Start in a calm setting with a friend where you are only talking. Familiar voices might not sound the same at first, and this can be disorienting. Ask about the volume of your own voice and make corrections.
Slowly increase the time you wear your hearing aids and progressively add new places to visit.
You will have wonderful hearing experiences in front of you if you can just be patient with yourself.
3. Being untruthful about your degree of hearing loss at your hearing exam
Responding truthfully to the questions during your hearing exam will ensure you get fitted with the optimum hearing aid technology.
If you have your hearing aid and realize that perhaps you weren’t as honest as you could have been, go 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 require a particular type of hearing aid. People who have mid-range hearing loss will need different technology and etc.
4. Neglecting to have your hearing aid fitted
Your hearing aids need to handle a few requirements at the same time: They need to effectively amplify sound, they need to be simple 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 may:
- Undergo hearing tests to calibrate the proper power for your hearing aid.
- Have your ears accurately measured or have molds made (or both).
5. Not tracking your results
It’s highly recommended that you take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels once you get fitted. Make a note if you are having a hard time hearing in a big room. Make a note if one ear feels tighter than the other. If everything feels right, make a note. With this information, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it works at peak efficiency and comfort.
6. Not foreseeing how you’ll use your hearing aids
Water-resistant hearing aids do exist. Others, however, can be damaged or even destroyed by water. Maybe you take pleasure in certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more advanced 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 utilize.
You and your hearing aid will be together for several years. So you don’t want to regret settling when you really would have benefited from a certain feature.
A few more things to think about
- You may prefer something that is extremely automated. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of individual. How much battery life will you need?
- How noticeable your hearing aid is might be important to you. Or perhaps you want to wear them with style.
- Speak with us about these things before your fitting so you can be certain you’re entirely satisfied.
During the fitting process we can address many of the issues regarding lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. What’s more, many hearing aid makers will allow you to try out 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 meet your needs.
7. Not appropriately maintaining your hearing aids
Moisture is a serious problem for most hearing aids. If you live in a humid place, getting a dehumidifier may be worth the money. It’s not a good idea to keep your hearing aid in the bathroom where everyone showers.
Before you touch your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to wash your hands. The life of your hearing aid and the longevity of its battery can be effected by the oils normally present in your skin.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to collect earwax and skin cells. Instead, clean it based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking simple actions like these will increase the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not having spare batteries
New hearing aid wearers frequently learn this concept at the worst times. When you’re about to discover who did it at the crucial moment of your favorite show, your batteries die without warning.
Like many electronic devices, battery life varies depending on your usage and the external environment. So even if you just replaced your batteries, keep an extra set with you. 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 an assumption, and it’s not necessarily a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the heavy lifting. But it’s not only your ears that are affected by hearing loss, it’s also the regions of your brain responsible for interpreting all those sounds.
Once you get your hearing aids, you’ll be able to start the work of rebuilding some of those ear-to-brain pathways and connections. This might happen quite naturally for some individuals, particularly if the hearing loss was rather recent. But other people will need a more structured strategy to restore their ability to hear. A couple of common strategies include the following.
Reading out loud
One of the most efficient ways you can restore those pathways between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. Even if you feel a bit weird at first you should still practice like this. You’re doing the important work of connecting the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). The more you create those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
You can always use 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 of that same text. 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. This will train the language parts of your brain to hear speech again.