Congratulations! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – a wonderful piece of modern tech. But new hearing aid owners will wish someone had informed them about certain things, as with any new technology.
Let’s go over nine typical mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how to steer clear of them.
1. Neglecting to understand hearing aid functionality
Or, more specifically, understand how your hearing aid works. The hearing experience will be dramatically improved if you know how to use advanced features for different settings like on the street, at the movies, or in a restaurant.
It may be able to connect wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It might also have a setting that makes phone conversations clearer.
If you fail to learn about these features, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-advanced hearing aid in a basic way. Hearing aids nowadays can do more than make the sound louder.
Practice using your hearing aid in different places in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Ask a family member or friend to help you so you can check how well you can hear.
As with anything new, it will get easier after a bit of practice. 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 instant improvement in your hearing
It’s not uncommon for a new hearing aid users to think that their hearing will be perfect from the first day. This assumption is normally not how it works. Some people say it takes a month or more before they are entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. They also say it’s very 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. Sometimes, you will need to go slow and wear your new hearing aids a little at a time.
Begin by just quietly talking with friends. Simple voices may sound different initially, and this can be disorienting. Ask your friends if you’re speaking too loud and make the necessary adjustments.
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 just be patient with yourself.
3. Being dishonest about your degree of hearing loss at your hearing exam
In order to be sure you get the right hearing aid technology, it’s essential to answer any questions we may ask honestly.
Go back and get retested if you realize you might not have been entirely honest after you get your hearing aids. Getting it straight the first time is better. 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.
As an example, individuals with hearing loss in the high frequency range will need a particular type of hearing aid. People who are dealing with mid-range hearing loss will call for different technology and etc.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
Your hearing aids need to juggle several requirements at once: 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 effectively. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
When you’re getting fitted, you might:
- Have your hearing tested to determine the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
After you’ve been fitted, it’s important to take notes on how your hearing aid feels and performs. Make a note if you are having a hard time hearing in a large room. If your right ear feels tighter than your left, make a note of that. Even make a note if everything feels right on. With this knowledge, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it functions at peak effectiveness and comfort.
6. Not foreseeing how you’ll use your hearing aids
Water-resistant hearing aids do exist. However, water can significantly damage others. Some have sophisticated features you might be willing to pay more for because you enjoy certain activities.
You might ask our opinion but the choice is yours. Only you know what advanced features you’ll actually use and that’s worth committing to because if the hearing aids don’t work with your lifestyle you won’t wear them.
You’ll be wearing your hearing aid for a long time. So if you really need certain features, you shouldn’t settle for less.
Some other things to consider
- Talk with us about these things before your fitting so you can make sure you’re entirely satisfied.
- You might want something that is extremely automated. Or perhaps you like having more control over the volume. How much battery life will you need?
- You might care about whether your hearing aid is visible. Or, you might want to make a bold statement.
Many issues that come up with regards to fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be resolved through the fitting process. Also, you may be able to try out your hearing aids before you commit to a purchase. During this trial period, you’ll be able to get a sense of whether a particular brand of hearing aid would be right for you.
7. Not appropriately maintaining your hearing aids
Moisture is a real issue for the majority of hearing aids. You may want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an extremely humid location. Storing your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers may not be the best idea.
Always wash your hands before handling the hearing aid or batteries. Oils found naturally on your hand can effect how well the hearing aid functions and the duration of the batteries.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to collect earwax and skin cells. Instead, the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures should be implemented.
Taking simple actions like these will increase the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not having spare batteries
Frequently, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. Suddenly, when you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries quit just as you’re about to find out “who done it”.
Your battery life depends, like any electronic device, on the external environment and how you use it. So always keep a spare set of batteries handy, even if you just replaced them. Don’t let an unpredictable battery cause you to miss something significant.
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 responsible for interpreting sound are also affected by hearing loss not just your ears.
You can start to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain pathways once you get your new hearing aids. For some people, this might happen rather naturally and this is especially true if the hearing loss developed recently. But others will need a more structured plan to rebuild their ability to hear. The following are a couple of prevalent strategies.
Reading out loud
One of the best ways you can recreate those pathways 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 practicing reconnecting the experience of saying words with the sounds they make. The more you create those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
If you don’t like the idea of reading something out loud personally, then you can always try audiobooks. You can purchase (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version of that same text. Then as the audiobook plays, you can read along. This does the same job as reading something out loud, you hear a word while you’re reading it. This will teach the language parts of your brain to hear speech again.