Congratulations! Modern hearing aids are an amazing piece of technology, and you’ve just become the proud owner of a shiny new set. But new hearing aid owners will wish somebody had told them certain things, just like with any new technology.
Let’s go over nine common mistakes new hearing aid wearers make and how to 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 significantly improve the hearing experience in different settings like restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
It might be able to connect wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It might also have a setting that makes phone conversations clearer.
If you use this advanced technology in such a rudimentary way, without understanding these features, you can easily become stuck in a rut. 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 get the clearest sound quality. Check out how well you hear by asking a friend or family member to assist you.
Like anything new, it will get easier after a little 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. Thinking that your hearing will immediately improve
It’s not unusual for a new hearing aid users to think that their hearing will be optimal from day one. This assumption is usually not how it works. Some people say it takes a month or more before they are completely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. They also say it’s very worth it.
After you get home, give yourself a couple of days to become accustomed to the new experience. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. Sometimes, you will need to go slow and wear your new hearing aids a little at a time.
Start in a quiet setting with a friend where you’re just talking. Familiar voices may not sound the same at first, and this can be disorienting. Ask about the volume of your own voice and make corrections.
Slowly increase the time you use your hearing aids and progressively add new places to visit.
You will have wonderful hearing experiences in front of you if you can just be patient with yourself.
3. Not being truthful about your level of hearing loss during your hearing appointment
Responding honestly to the questions during your hearing exam will ensure you get fitted with the proper hearing aid technology.
Go back and get retested if you realize you might not have been completely honest after you get your hearing aids. But it’s better if you get it right the first time. The degree and type of hearing loss will identify the hearing aid styles that will work best for you.
For instance, some hearing aids are better for individuals with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Others are better for those with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Failing to have your hearing aid fitted
Your hearing aids need to juggle a few requirements at once: they need to be comfortable on or in your ears, they need to be simple to place and remove, and they need to boost the sounds around you effectively. Your hearing aid fitting is meant to correctly calibrate all three of those variables for your individual requirements.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you may:
- Do hearing tests to adjust the proper power for your hearing aid.
- Have your ears accurately measured or have molds made (or both).
5. Not tracking your results
After you’ve been fitted, it’s important to take notes on how your hearing aid feels and performs. If you have trouble hearing in large rooms, make a note of that. If your right ear seems tighter than your left, note that. Even make a note if everything feels great. This can help us make custom, minute adjustments to help your hearing aids reach peak comfort and effectiveness.
6. Not foreseeing how you’ll utilize your hearing aids
Some hearing aids are water-resistant. Others, however, can be damaged or even destroyed by water. Maybe you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
You might ask our opinion but the choice must be yours. Only you know what advanced features you’ll actually use and that’s worth investing in because if the hearing aids don’t work with your lifestyle you won’t use them.
You and your hearing aid will be together for a number of years. So you don’t want to be disappointed by settling when you really would have benefited from a certain function.
Some other things to take into consideration
- Talk with us about these things before your fitting so you can be sure you’re entirely satisfied.
- You may prefer something that is really automated. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself type of person. Is a longer battery life important to you?
- You may care about whether people can see your hearing aid. Or perhaps you want to wear them with style.
Many challenges that arise with regards to fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be dealt with during 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 an idea of whether a particular brand of hearing aid would be right for you.
7. Not appropriately caring for your hearing aids
The majority of hearing aids are very sensitive to moisture. If where you live is very humid, acquiring a dehumidifier may be worth the investment. Keeping your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers may not be the best idea.
Before you handle your hearing aid or its battery, be certain to clean your hands. Oils encountered normally on your hand can effect how well the hearing aid functions and the life of the batteries.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate earwax and skin cells. Instead, the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning procedures should be followed.
Taking simple steps like these will improve the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Failing to have a set of spare batteries
Frequently, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid owners learn this one. When you’re about to find out who did it at the critical moment of your favorite show, your batteries die without warning.
Like many electronic devices, battery life varies depending on how you use it and the external environment. So always keep an extra set of batteries nearby, even if you recently replaced them. Don’t allow an unpredictable battery to cause you to miss something significant.
9. Not practicing your hearing exercises
You may assume that your hearing aids will do all of the work when you first purchase them. But the parts of your brain responsible for interpreting sound are also impacted by hearing loss not just your ears.
You can start to work on rebuilding those ear-to-brain connections 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 for other people, an intentional strategy might be necessary to get your hearing back to normal again. The following are a couple of common strategies.
Reading out loud
Reading out loud is one of the easiest ways to restore 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 practicing reconnecting the feeling of saying words with the sounds they make. The more you create those connections, the better your hearing (and your hearing aid) will work.
You can always use audiobooks if reading out loud isn’t appealing to you. 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. And that helps the hearing-and-language region of your brain get accustomed to hearing (and understanding) speech again.