“Ready-to-wear” is not an adjective that applies to hearing aids. They need to fit you and your circumstances individually. To get the most out of your hearing aids, you need to prepare for each step of the way and to work with a qualified hearing care professional.
Follow these steps to get the best hearing aid experience:
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. One of the smartest things to do before you go to your appointment is jot down a list of questions to review with your hearing care professional.
Use these questions as a springboard to your list:
What level of hearing loss do I have? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
If I need hearing aids, do I need them for both ears?
Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How can I balance features with price?
How can I finance the purchase of my hearing aids? (Insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
If your hearing tests determine that your hearing is normal, you may not need hearing aids now, but at least you’ll have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate hearing loss situation, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
When you go through the process of selecting hearing aids, there are several variables to consider. Make sure you cover these areas:
Programmability – Don’t let anyone try to sell you hearing aids “right out of the box”. Hearing aids need to be customized and programmed for your individual level of hearing loss. Today, most hearing aids are digital and programmable to match the exact specifications of your hearing loss.
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 – a lot of hearing aid models connect wirelessly to compatible smartphones. This gives you the option of discreetly adjusting the 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 – some hearing aids come equipped with additional advanced features, like directional microphones to enhance speech, background noise reduction, environmental settings, and telecoils for clearer phone calls. You may also want to forgo some of these options and opt for a more cost-effective model.
There’s a lot to consider, and it may seem confusing at first, but your hearing care professional is trained to help guide you through the decision-making process. Again, keep in mind that, if someone tries to hurry you into a decision without addressing your questions, that should be a red flag.
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, you’re ready to bring them home. But you should keep two things in mind.
First, don’t expect to just love your hearing aids immediately. You’ll suddenly be hearing sounds you’ve not heard in years, and so your new soundscape may seem a little “off” at first. 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 initially, you should try to wear your hearing aids as much as possible throughout the day, putting them in when you wake up and taking them out before bed. This will accelerate your adjustment to the hearing aids, 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, if you want them to perform at their best for a long time, you’ll need to properly maintain and care for 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!