There are no pop-in-and-go hearing aids that will work the way you want them to. You need to do quite a bit of testing, research and decision making — taking certain steps to make sure your hearing aid experience is great. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your trusted hearing care professional for a hearing test.
Beyond that, here’s what you need to know about every step of the process.
Before your appointment
At your hearing test, your hearing care professional will test your hearing, review the results, and help you decide if hearing aids are right 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.
Definitely ask these questions – add more if you need to:
- What kind of hearing loss do I have? Mild? Moderate? Severe? Profound?
- Could hearing aids improve my quality of life?
- Should I get them for both ears, or just one ear?
- Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How can I balance features with cost?
- What are my financing options for hearing aids? (Private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, hearing aids may not be required, and you’ll have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate that you’ve sustained some extent of hearing loss, 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 – You should never buy hearing aids that just came right out of a box – they simply will not work the way you need them to without necessary customization, programming and fitting. Most of today’s hearing aids are both digital and programmable, and your hearing care professional can actually program them to address your individual hearing loss situation.
- Style – hearing aids come in a plethora of potential 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 – several hearing aid models can hook up wirelessly to compatible smartphones. This gives you the option to discreetly adjust volume and settings, send phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even stream music all without any wires or the need for a separate hearing aid remote control.
- Advanced features – The world of modern hearing aids is amazing and many models come with a host of extra features such as directional microphones to enhance speech, background noise reduction, environmental settings, and telecoils for clearer phone calls. Naturally, all these extra features come at a cost; be sure to balance what you really need with what you can pay for.
If this all seems confusing and difficult, don’t worry. Just go through one step at a time and your hearing care professional can guide you along the way to a better hearing aid experience. Naturally, if someone tries to shoehorn you into a decision without addressing your questions, don’t let them.
Adjusting to new hearing aids at home
After going through the process of selecting and purchasing your hearing aids, and after you’ve had them programmed by your hearing care professional, you can embark on the process of learning to wear them at home. But you should keep two things in mind.
First, your relationship with your new hearing aids may not be all sunshine and flowers at first. You’ll suddenly hear sounds you forgot were out there, and it might seem a bit jarring at first. This is perfectly normal and, after a few weeks, this awkwardness will abate.
We recommend starting small at home. Try watching a movie and paying particular attention to the dialogue, engage in one-on-one discussions in a quiet room, and try listening to music and picking out or following certain instruments.
Even if your hearing aids seemed comfortable in the office at first, it will still take you awhile to break them in for full comfort at home. So 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.
Keep in mind that your hearing aids can be adjusted if you continue to have difficulty hearing or adapting to the new sounds. If you have problems, do schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings.
Second, to ensure continued performance, you’ll need to properly maintain and care for your new hearing aids. This means daily cleaning, proper storage, and managing your battery supply.
To make the adjustment phase easier for yourself, make sure to have all the right tools on hand and practice good hearing aid care habits, as your hearing care professional explains them to you. We can outfit you with hearing aid cleaning kits, storage cases/sanitizers, and batteries.
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!