If you’ve recently found out, or suspect you might need hearing aids, know this: hearing aids are not a one-size-fits all item. You’ll need to work with a qualified, trusted hearing care professional and go through an intensive customization and adjustment process in the beginning—all of which will be worth it when you finally experience the improved quality of life with better hearing.
Here’s what you need to know about the process of getting hearing aids.
Before your appointment
Before you go to your hearing test appointment, you’ll need to be ready with a list of important questions. During this appointment, your ears will be extensively tested, your hearing care professional will examine all the results and then discuss your needs with you.
Here’s a list of starter questions you should come with; add more of your own as well:
Do I have mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss?
Would hearing aids be a good idea at this time?
Do I need hearing aids for both ears? Just one?
Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How do I effectively balance cost and features?
What are my financing options for hearing aids? (Private insurance, installments, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your hearing test appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, you may not need hearing aids at this time. In any case, you’ll still have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate hearing loss is present, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
In selecting a hearing aid, there are several variables to consider. Make sure you cover these areas:
Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable so that they can be programmed to match the specifications of your hearing loss. This is crucial; if someone tries to sell you a hearing instrument right out of the box with no adjustment necessary, it probably won’t work the way you want it to.
Style – hearing aids come in several sizes and styles, from models that sit behind the ear to models that fit entirely within the ear canal. You’ll want to balance price, ease-of-use, functionality, and aesthetics in making your decision.
Wireless connectivity – Most new hearing aid models wirelessly connect to a host of compatible smartphone models. This gives you the high-tech options of discreetly adjusting volume and settings, sending phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even streaming music without wires or separate hearing aid remote controls.
Advanced features – Many modern hearing aids have additional, technologically-advanced features such as directional microphones for enhanced speech, background noise reduction, environmental settings, and even telecoils for better phone calls. You may also want to forgo some of these options and opt for a more cost-effective model.
Don’t let the process befuddle you. Stick with these guidelines as you make your choices and your hearing care professional can guide you through the process. Whatever you do, don’t allow anyone to coerce you into purchasing hearing aids without fully answering all of your questions and helping you examine all of these aspects first.
New hearing aids at home
After choosing your hearing aids and having your hearing care professional program them, you’re ready to bring them home. But you should keep two things in mind.
First, there will be an adjustment period where things seem awkward at first. You’ll suddenly hear sounds you haven’t heard in a while, and the overall sound will just seem “off.” This is perfectly normal and, after a few weeks, will subside.
We recommend starting small at home. Try watching a movie and paying particular attention to the dialogue, engage in one-on-one conversations in a quiet room, and try listening to music and picking out or following certain instruments.
Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, you should try to wear your hearing aids as much of the day as possible, putting them in when you wake up and taking them out before bed. This will speed up the adjustment process, and after a few weeks, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
Also remember that your hearing aids can be adjusted, so if you continue to have difficulty hearing or adapting to the new sound, schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings.
Second, to ensure the best hearing aid performance, you need to maintain and care for them the right way. Proper care includes daily cleaning, proper storage, and managing your battery supply.
You can make these tasks easier on yourself with the right tools and habits. Hearing aid cleaning kits, storage cases/sanitizers, and batteries can all be supplied, with tips, from your hearing care professional.
After a short period of adjustment, you’ll be prepared to enjoy the all the benefits of better hearing. If you have any other questions about hearing aids, or the process of acquiring them, give us a call!