Congrats! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – a wonderful piece of modern technology. But new hearing aid owners will wish somebody had told them certain things, just like with any new technology.
Let’s look at nine common mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how you can avoid them.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
Or, more specifically, know how your hearing aid works. It most likely has exclusive features that considerably enhance the hearing experience in different settings such as restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
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 use this advanced technology in such a basic way, without learning about these features, you can easily get stuck in a rut. Modern hearing aids do more than simply raise the volume of external sounds.
To get the clearest and best sound quality, take some time to practice using the hearing aid in different settings. Ask a family member or friend to help you so you can test how well you can hear.
After a little practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. Just turning the volume up and down won’t even come close to providing the hearing experience that using these more sophisticated features will.
2. Expecting immediate improvement in your hearing
Consistent with number one, many new hearing aid users think their hearing will be optimal as they walk out of the office. This assumption is normally not how it works. Some say it takes a month or more before they’re entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. 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 experience. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You may need to use it in short intervals.
Begin by just quietly talking with friends. Familiar voices may not sound the same initially, and this can be disorienting. Ask about your own voice volume and make corrections.
Slowly begin to visit new places and use the hearing aid for longer periods of time.
You will have wonderful hearing experiences ahead of you if you can only be patient with yourself.
3. Not being honest about your level of hearing loss during your hearing appointment
In order to be sure you get the correct hearing aid technology, it’s important to answer any questions we may ask honestly.
If you 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. But it’s easier if you get it right the first time. The level and kind of hearing loss will identify the hearing aid styles that will work best for you.
For example, some hearing aids are better for people with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. People who have mid-range hearing loss will need different technology and etc.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
Your hearing aids need to juggle a few requirements at the same time: they need to be comfortable on or in your ears, they need to be simple to put in and remove, and they need to boost the sounds around you efficiently. All three of those variables will be resolved during your fitting.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you may:
- Undergo hearing tests to adjust the appropriate power for your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
It’s important 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 large room. Make a note if one ear feels tighter than the other. If everything feels great, make a note. With this information, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it works at peak effectiveness and comfort.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll use your hearing aids
Water-resistant hearing aids are available. Others, however, can be damaged or even destroyed by water. Some have advanced features you may be willing to pay more for because you enjoy certain activities.
We can give you some suggestions but you must decide for yourself. Only you know which state-of-the-art features you’ll actually use and that’s worth investing in because if the hearing aids don’t fit in with your lifestyle you won’t use them.
You’ll be wearing your hearing aid for quite a while. So you don’t want to regret settling when you really would have benefited from a certain feature.
Some other things to consider
- You might want something that is very automated. Or maybe you enjoy having more control over the volume. Is a longer battery life important to you?
- To be very satisfied, talk about these preferences before your fitting.
- How noticeable your hearing aid is may be important to you. Or, you might want to make a bold statement.
Throughout the fitting process we can address many of the challenges with regards to lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. In addition, many hearing aid makers will let you demo the devices before deciding. This trial period will help you figure out which brand will be best for your requirements.
7. Failing to take proper care of your hearing aid
The majority of hearing aids are quite sensitive to moisture. You may want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an overly humid location. It’s a bad idea to keep your hearing aid in the bathroom where everyone showers.
Before you handle your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to clean your hands. The life of your hearing aid and the longevity of its battery can be effected by the oils naturally found in your skin.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells accumulate on the hearing aid. Instead, the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures should be followed.
Taking simple steps like these will improve the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Failing to have a spare set of batteries
New hearing aid wearers often 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 quit without warning.
Your battery life depends, like any electronic device, on the outside environment and how you use it. So always keep a spare set of batteries handy, even if you just changed them. Don’t miss something important because of an unpredictable battery.
9. Not practicing your hearing exercises
You might assume that your hearing aids will do all of the work when you first purchase them. But the parts of your brain in charge of interpreting sound are also impacted by hearing loss not just your ears.
You can begin to work on restoring those ear-to-brain connections once you get your new hearing aids. This might occur quite naturally for some people, particularly if the hearing loss was rather recent. But for other people, a deliberate approach may be required to get your hearing back to normal again. A couple of common 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 doing the essential work of linking the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). The more you establish those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of reading something out loud yourself, then you can always go the audiobook route. You can get a physical copy of the book and an audio copy. Then as the audiobook plays, you can read along. You’ll hear a word as you’re reading it just like reading out loud. This will teach the language parts of your brain to understand speech again.