New Hearing Aids: Expectations vs. Reality
Hearing aids are as individual as the people who need them, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Get the most out of your new hearing aids by preparing for each step of the process and work with a qualified hearing care professional.
Your hearing aid journey will begin before your first hearing test; follow all these steps and be informed and ready:
Before your hearing test appointment
Three major events happen at your hearing test: your hearing care professional carefully tests your hearing, reviews the results, and will help you decide if hearing aids are a good fit for your needs. The best thing you can do before your appointment is to compile a list of questions to review with your hearing care professional.
Here are just a few of the questions you’ll need to ask:
To what extent do I suffer from hearing loss? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
Are hearing aids a viable option?
Will I need hearing aids for both ears?
Which hearing aids best fit my needs? How do I balance features with cost?
What are my financing options for hearing aids? (Private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, you likely don’t need hearing aids now. Nevertheless, you’ll have a baseline test with which to compare any future hearing tests.
If the results indicate that you have some level of hearing loss, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
In selecting a hearing aid, there are several variables to consider. Make sure you cover these areas:
Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable so that they can be programmed to match the specifications of your hearing loss. This is crucial; if someone tries to sell you a hearing instrument right out of the box with no adjustment necessary, it probably won’t work the way you want it to.
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 – 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 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.
Although this process can seem daunting at first, your trained hearing care professional is can guide you through the decision-making process. But understand that if someone tries to steer you to a decision without addressing all of your questions, this should be a red flag.
New hearing aids at home
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 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.
Although it probably won’t be totally comfortable initially, do try to wear your hearing aids as much of the day as possible, from day one. Put them in when you wake up, leave them in all day and take 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.
And if things aren’t working the way you want them to after a couple of weeks, remember: we can adjust your hearing aids! If you continue to have difficulty hearing or adapting to your new soundscape, 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.
The adjustment process can also be easier on you if you start with the right habits and equipment. Have a hearing aid cleaning kit, storage cases/sanitizers, and batteries on hand and ask your hearing care professional for tips to get the most out of your hearing aids.
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!