Congrats! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – an incredible piece of modern tech. But, as with all new devices, there will be things that hearing aid owners wish someone had told them.
Let’s look at nine common mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how you can steer clear of them.
1. Not learning how hearing aids work
Or, more specifically, know how your hearing aid works. It most likely has unique features that drastically enhance the hearing experience in different environments such as restaurants, movie 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 calls clearer.
If you fail to learn about these functions, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-advanced hearing aid in a rudimentary way. Modern hearing aids do more than simply increase the volume of outside sounds.
Practice using your hearing aid in different settings in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Check out how well you hear by asking a friend or family member to assist you.
After a little practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. And your hearing experience will be much better than when you simply raise and lower the volume.
2. Expecting immediate improvement in your hearing
It’s not uncommon for a new hearing aid users to think that their hearing will be optimal from day one. This isn’t a correct assumption. It typically takes up to a month for most new users to get comfortable with their new hearing aids. But don’t get frustrated. They also say it’s really worth it.
After getting home, give yourself a couple of days to get used to the new situation. 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.
Start in a calm setting with a friend where you are only talking. Familiar voices may not sound the same initially, and this can be disorienting. Ask your friends if you’re speaking too loud and make the required adjustments.
Slowly increase the time you wear your hearing aids and gradually add new places to visit.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have many great hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Being dishonest about your level of hearing loss at your hearing assessment
Responding honestly to the questions during your hearing test will ensure you get fitted with the correct hearing aid technology.
Go back and get retested if you realize you may not have been totally honest after you get your hearing aids. But it’s better if you get it right the first time. The hearing aid type and style that will be best for you will be determined by the degree and kind of hearing loss you’re experiencing.
As an illustration, people with hearing loss in the high frequency range will require a particular type of hearing aid. Others are better for those with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
There are several requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously manage: They need to efficiently boost sound, they need to be easy to put in and take out, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. Your hearing aid fitting is meant to correctly calibrate all three of those variables for your personal needs.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you might:
- Do 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
Once you’ve been fitted, it’s worthwhile to take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels. 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 great. This can help us make custom, tiny adjustments to help your hearing aids achieve optimum comfort and effectiveness.
6. Not thinking about how you will utilize your hearing aid in advance
Water-resistant hearing aids do exist. However, water can seriously damage others. Maybe you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
We can give you some recommendations but you must choose for yourself. Only you know which 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 and your hearing aid will be together for a number of years. So if you really need certain features, you shouldn’t settle for less.
A few more things to think about
- You might care about whether people can see your hearing aid. Or, you may want to make a bold statement.
- You may want something that is really automated. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself type of person. Is a longer battery life essential to you?
- To be very satisfied, talk about these preferences before your fitting.
Throughout the fitting process we can deal with many of the issues regarding lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. What’s more, many hearing aid brands will let you demo the devices before making a decision. This trial period will help you determine which brand will be best for your requirements.
7. Neglecting to take proper care of your hearing aid
The majority of hearing aids are very sensitive to moisture. If where you live is very humid, getting a dehumidifier may be worth the investment. Keeping your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers is a bad idea.
Before you handle your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to clean your hands. The performance of your hearing aid and the longevity of its battery can be effected by the oils naturally present in your skin.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells accumulate on the hearing aid. Instead, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking simple steps like these will improve the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not having spare batteries
Often, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid owners learn this one. All of a sudden, when you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries die just as you’re about to learn “who done it”.
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 let an unpredictable battery cause you to miss out on something significant.
9. Neglecting your hearing exercises
When you first get your hearing aids, there might be an assumption, and it’s not always a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the work. But it’s not only your ears that are affected by hearing loss, it’s also the regions of your brain responsible for interpreting all those sounds.
Once you get your hearing aids, you’ll be able to start the work of rebuilding some of those ear-to-brain pathways and links. For some individuals, this might happen quite naturally and this is particularly true if the hearing loss developed recently. But others will need a more structured strategy to restore their ability to hear. The following are a couple of prevalent strategies.
Reading out loud
Reading out loud is one of the best ways to rebuild those connections between your ears and your brain. Even if you feel a bit odd at first you should still practice like this. You’re doing the essential work of connecting the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). The more you create those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of reading something out loud personally, 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. This does the same work as reading something out loud, you hear a word while you’re reading it. This will train the language parts of your brain to understand speech again.