This is a common question, and the important thing to remember is that there are no “one-size-fits-all” hearing aids. But you can get the most out of yours if you prepare properly, from your first hearing test all the way to taking your new hearing aids home. Work with a qualified hearing care professional to get the best results.
Follow these tips to plan for every step of the process:
Before your appointment
At your first appointment, your hearing care professional will conduct your hearing test, examine your results and discuss whether or not hearing aids are a good choice for you. Before your first your appointment, write down a good list of questions to review with your hearing care professional.
Some of the questions should be:
What type of hearing loss do I have? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
Can hearing aids help, and do I need one for both ears?
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 the appointment
In the event that your hearing tests are normal, you may not need hearing aids right now; but you’ll have a baseline test with which to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate hearing loss, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
If you need to select hearing aids, there are several variables to consider. Make sure you discuss these areas with your hearing care professional:
Programmability – This is essential! If someone tries to sell you hearing aids out of the box without any programming, they’re not going to work right. Today’s hearing aids are both digital and programmable. Your hearing care professional should spend some time programming hearing aids to remedy your level of hearing loss for the best results.
Style – hearing aids come in a wide array of sizes and styles. There are a host of models that sit behind the ear and many 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. That way, you can 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 – some hearing aids have even more advanced features built in: background noise reduction, directional microphones to enhance speech, environmental settings, and telecoils for sharper phone calls. You may also want to forgo some of these options and opt for a more cost-effective model.
This may all seem confusing, but your hearing care professional is trained to help guide you through the decision-making process. Of course, if someone tries to rush or steer you to a decision without addressing your questions, that should be a red flag.
Taking your hearing aids home
After selecting and having your hearing aids programmed by your hearing care professional, it’s time to take them home. The journey is just beginning here, so keep these two things in mind:
First, don’t expect to fall in love with your hearing aids immediately. You’ll likely be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a while, and the overall sound will just seem “off.” 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 at first, you should 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.
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, 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.
Make the whole process easier on yourself by getting equipped with the right tools and habits: Get hearing aid cleaning kits, storage cases/sanitizers, batteries and daily care 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!