There aren’t any “off-the-shelf” hearing aids; selecting and being fitted for new hearing aids is a fairly intense process. To ensure that you get the most out of them, you need to prepare for every step of the way and to work with a qualified hearing care professional.
Follow this step-by-step guide to get the best hearing aid experience possible:
Before you arrive at your hearing test appointment
During your hearing test, your hearing care professional will evaluate your hearing in-depth, review your test results, and work with you to decide if hearing aids are a good idea. The best thing you can do before your appointment is to compile a list of questions to review with your hearing care professional.
Ask these and any other questions you to which you need answers:
What is the extent of my hearing loss? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
Can hearing aids help? Do I need them for both ears, or just one?
Which hearing aid is best for my needs?
How can I balance hearing aid features with my budget?
What are my hearing aid financing options? (Private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, hearing aids may not be required, and you’ll have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate some extent 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 different things you need to consider. Make sure you discuss 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 cost, ease-of-use, functionality, and aesthetics in making your decision.
Wireless connectivity – many newer models of hearing aids connect wirelessly to your compatible smartphone so you can discreetly adjust volume and settings, send phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even stream music; no wires or separate hearing aid remote control necessary.
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.
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.
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.
Understand that your hearing aids may not be totally comfortable at first, but 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 your adjustment process, and after a few weeks, you’ll hardly even notice them anymore.
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.
You can make these tasks easier on yourself with the right tools and habits. Hearing aid cleaning kits, storage cases/sanitizers, and batteries can all be supplied, with 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!