Congratulations! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – a great piece of modern technology. But new hearing aid owners will wish somebody had told them certain things, as with any new technology.
Let’s go over nine typical mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how you can avoid them.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
Or, more specifically, know how your hearing aid works. The hearing experience will be greatly enhanced if you know how to utilize 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. In addition, it might have a special setting that helps you hear on the phone.
If you use this sophisticated technology in such a basic way, without learning about these features, you can easily get stuck in a rut. Hearing aids these days can do more than make the sound louder.
To get the clearest and best sound quality, take some time to practice wearing the hearing aid in different places. Ask a friend or family member to help you so you can test how well you can hear.
Like anything new, it will get easier after a little practice. And your hearing experience will be much better than when you simply turn the volume up and down.
2. Thinking that your hearing will instantly improve
It’s not unusual for a new hearing aid owner to think that their hearing will be optimal from day one. This assumption is normally not how it works. Some people say it takes a month or more before they’re completely comfortable with their hearing aid. But don’t get discouraged. The time you take is easily worth it according to those who are persistent.
Give yourself a few days, after you get 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.
Begin by just talking quietly with friends. Familiar voices might sound different initially, and this can be disorienting. Ask about your own voice volume and make corrections.
Slowly start to go to new places and use the hearing aid for longer periods of time.
You will have wonderful hearing experiences in front of you if you can only be patient with yourself.
3. Not being truthful about your degree of hearing loss at your hearing exam
In order to be sure you get the right hearing aid technology, it’s crucial to answer any questions we may ask honestly.
If you already have your hearing aid and realize that maybe you weren’t as honest as you could have been, come back and ask to be retested. Getting it right the first time is better. The level and kind of hearing loss will identify the hearing aid styles that work best for you.
For example, certain hearing aids are better for individuals with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Others are better for people with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Failing to have your hearing aid fitted
There are numerous requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously manage: They need to efficiently amplify sound, they need to be easy to put in and remove, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
When you’re getting fitted, you may:
- Have your hearing tested to determine the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
After you’ve been fitted, it’s worthwhile to take notes on how your hearing aid feels and performs. If you have problems hearing in large rooms, make a note of that. Make a note if one ear seems tighter than the other. Even make a note if everything feels right on. With this knowledge, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it works at peak effectiveness and comfort.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll utilize your hearing aids
Water-resistant hearing aids are available. Others, however, can be damaged or even destroyed by water. Perhaps you take pleasure in certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
We can give you some suggestions but you must decide for yourself. You won’t wear your hearing aid if it doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle and only you know what features you will utilize.
You and your hearing aid will be together for a number of years. So you don’t want to be disappointed by settling when you really would have benefited from a certain feature.
A few more things to think about
- How obvious your hearing aid is may be something you’re worried about. Or, you may want to make a bold statement.
- Maybe you want a high degree of automation. Or maybe you like having more control over the volume. How much battery life will you require?
- To be very satisfied, discuss these preferences before your fitting.
Many challenges that come up regarding fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be addressed during the fitting process. Also, you may be able to demo out your hearing aids before you commit to a purchase. During this test period, you’ll be able to get a sense of whether a specific brand of hearing aid would fit the bill.
7. Failing to take sufficient care of your hearing aid
The majority of hearing aids are very sensitive to moisture. You might want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an overly humid place. Storing your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers is a bad idea.
Before you handle your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to clean your hands. Oils found naturally on your hand can effect how well the hearing aid works and the duration of the batteries.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells accumulate on the hearing aid. Instead, clean it based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking simple steps like these will increase the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not having spare batteries
Often, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. Suddenly, when you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries quit just as you’re about to learn “who done it”.
Your battery life depends, like any electronic device, on the outside environment and how you use it. So always keep an extra set of batteries handy, even if you recently replaced them. Don’t miss something special because of an unpredictable battery.
9. Not practicing your hearing exercises
You may assume that your hearing aids will do all of the work when you first purchase them. But it’s not only 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 begin to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain pathways after you get your new hearing aids. For some people, this might happen quite naturally and this is especially true if the hearing loss happened recently. But other people will need a more structured approach to rebuild their ability to hear. A couple of typical strategies include the following.
Reading out loud
Reading out loud is one of the easiest ways to restore those connections between your ears and your brain. Even if you feel a little weird initially you should still practice like this. You’re practicing reconnecting the feeling of saying words with the sounds they make. The more you establish those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
If you don’t like the idea of reading something out loud personally, then you can always try audiobooks. You can buy (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version of that same text. Then as the audiobook plays, you can read along. You’ll hear a word while you’re reading it just like reading out loud. This will teach the language parts of your brain to understand speech again.