Congrats! Modern hearing aids are an amazing piece of technology, and you’ve recently become the proud owner of a shiny new pair. But, just like with any new device, there are things that hearing aid wearers wish someone had informed them about.
Let’s look at nine typical mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how to avoid them.
1. Failing to understand hearing aid functionality
Or, more specifically, understand how your hearing aid works. It likely has unique features that considerably improve the hearing experience in different environments such as restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
Your wireless devices, like smartphones and televisions can probably connect wirelessly to your hearing aids. In addition, it may have a special setting that helps you hear on the phone.
If you don’t learn about these features, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-advanced hearing aid in a rudimentary way. Hearing aids nowadays can do more than make the sound louder.
Practice wearing your hearing aid in different settings in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Ask a friend or family member to help you so you can test how well you can hear.
After a bit of practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. Simply turning the volume up and down won’t even come close to providing the hearing experience that utilizing these more advanced features will.
2. Thinking that your hearing will automatically improve
It’s not unusual for a new hearing aid owner to think that their hearing will be perfect from day one. This is an incorrect assumption. Some say it takes a month or more before they are entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But don’t get discouraged. They also say it’s really worth it.
Give yourself a few days, after getting home, to get accustomed to your new experience. It won’t be that much different than breaking in new shoes. Usually, you will need to go slow and wear your new hearing aids a little at a time.
Begin by just quietly talking with friends. It can be a bit disorienting at first because voices may not sound the same. Ask about your own voice volume and make adjustments.
Slowly start to visit new places and use the hearing aid for longer periods of time.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have countless wonderful hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Not being truthful about your level of hearing loss during your hearing appointment
Responding truthfully to the questions during your hearing exam will ensure you get fitted with the optimum hearing aid technology.
If you have your hearing aid and realize that maybe you weren’t as honest as you could have been, come back and get retested. But it’s better if you get it right the first time. The hearing aid type and style that will be ideal for you will be determined by the degree and kind of hearing loss you have.
For instance, some hearing aids are better for individuals with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. People who are dealing with mid-range hearing loss will need different technology and etc.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
There are numerous requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously manage: They need to effectively boost sound, they need to be simple to put in and take out, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you might:
- Have your hearing tested to identify the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have your ears accurately measured or have molds made (or both).
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 trouble hearing in a big room. If your right ear seems tighter than your left, make a note of that. Even note if everything feels great. With this information, we can personalize the settings of your hearing aid so it functions at peak efficiency and comfort.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll utilize your hearing aids
Some hearing aids are water-resistant. However, water can seriously damage others. Some have state-of-the-art features you might be willing to pay more for because you take pleasure in certain activities.
We can give you some recommendations 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 use.
You and your hearing aid will be together for several years. So if you really need certain functions, you don’t want to settle for less.
A few more things to contemplate
- Speak with us about these things before your fitting so you can be sure you’re totally satisfied.
- You may care about whether people can see your hearing aid. Or, you may want to make a bold statement.
- Maybe you want a high level of automation. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself type of person. How much battery life will you need?
Many issues that come up regarding fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be addressed through 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 particular brand of hearing aid would meet your needs.
7. Not appropriately taking care of your hearing aids
Most hearing aids are quite sensitive to moisture. If you live in a humid place, acquiring a dehumidifier may be worth the investment. Storing your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers is a bad idea.
Before you touch your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to clean your hands. Oils found naturally on your hand can impact how well the hearing aid works and the duration of the batteries.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate earwax and skin cells. Instead, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking simple actions like these will increase the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not getting spare batteries
Often, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. When you’re about to learn who did it at the critical moment of your favorite show, your batteries quit without warning.
Your battery life depends, like any electronic device, on the external environment and how you use it. So even if you recently changed your batteries, keep an extra set with you. Don’t miss something special 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 regions of your brain in charge of interpreting sound are also impacted by hearing loss not just your ears.
You can start to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain pathways after you get your new hearing aids. For some people, this may happen rather naturally and this is especially true if the hearing loss happened recently. But others will need a more focused strategy to restore their ability to hear. A couple of typical strategies include the following.
Reading out loud
One of the most efficient ways you can recreate those connections between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. It might feel a bit foolish at first, but don’t let that stop you. You’re doing the important work of connecting the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). Your hearing will get better and better as you continue practicing.
If you don’t like the idea of reading something out loud personally, then you can always try audiobooks. 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. And that helps the hearing-and-language part of your brain get accustomed to hearing (and making sense of) speech again.