Hearing aids are not an immediate off-the-shelf solution to hearing loss. If you want to get the most out of your new hearing aids, it’s important to prepare properly with the assistance of a qualified hearing care professional.
Here’s how to plan for every step of the process.
Get Ready for your appointment
The first step in the process is your hearing test. Your hearing care professional will conduct in-depth tests on your ears, review your hearing results, and discuss whether or not if hearing aids are a good idea for you. The best thing you can do before your appointment is to compile a list of questions to review with your hearing care professional.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask (add others as well):
What type of hearing loss do I have? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
Can hearing aids help, and do I need one for both ears?
Which hearing best fits my needs? How can I balance features with cost?
Are there financing options that fit with my budget? (Insurance, installments, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
Attending your appointment
In the event that your test results come back normal, you may not really need hearing aids now, yet you’ll still have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate a level of hearing loss, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review all of your options with you.
When selecting hearing aids, you’ll need to consider several things:
Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable, meaning they can be programmed to match your particular level of your hearing loss. Programmability is critical; if someone tries to sell you hearing aids right out of the box with no customizations, it probably won’t work the way you want it to.
Style – hearing aids come in a wide variety of styles and sizes these days, from models that sit behind the ear to models that fit entirely within the ear canal. It’s important to discuss the balance of price, ease-of-use, functionality, and aesthetics in making your decision.
Wireless connectivity – several hearing aid models can speak directly and wirelessly to compatible smartphones. This gives you the option of discreetly adjusting volume and settings, sending phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even streaming music all without any wires or the need for a separate hearing aid remote control.
Advanced features – several newer models of hearing aids have advanced features, like directional microphones to enhance speech, background noise reduction, environmental settings, and telecoils for better phone calls. Consider whether or not you truly need some of these options so you can opt for the most cost-effective model.
We understand how confusing and exhaustive the process can be, but your hearing care professional is there to help guide you through the entire process. Do not be fooled, however: if someone tries to push you into a decision without addressing your questions, find another hearing healthcare professional to assist you.
Once you’re home
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, you’re ready to take them home. There are two important things to keep in mind:
First, it will take you awhile to get used to them; this is completely normal. You’ll likely be hearing 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.
Just start out 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.
Understand that your new hearing aids may not be terribly comfortable at first, and that this is normal too. Do try to wear your hearing aids for as much of each day as possible: put them in when you wake up and keep them in until you take them out just before going to bed. This will speed up the adjustment process, and after a few weeks, this effort will pay off.
Keep in mind that your hearing aids can be adjusted, so if you still have difficulty hearing or adapting to the new sounds, schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings.
Second, proper daily maintenance is essential to preserving the performance of your new hearing aids. This means 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!