Congratulations! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – a wonderful piece of modern tech. But, just like with any new device, there will be things that hearing aid wearers wish somebody had told them.
Let’s look at nine typical mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how you can avoid them.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
To put it bluntly, learn your hearing aid’s functions. It likely has exclusive features that considerably improve the hearing experience in different environments like restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
It might be able to sync wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. Additionally, it may have a specific setting that helps you hear on the phone.
If you don’t learn about these functions, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-sophisticated hearing aid in a basic way. 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 attain the clearest sound quality. Ask a friend or family member to help you so you can check how well you can hear.
After a bit of practice, as with anything new, it will get easier. Simply raising and lowering the volume won’t even come close to providing the hearing experience that using these more advanced features will.
2. Thinking that your hearing will immediately improve
In line with number one, many new hearing aid owners think their hearing will be optimal as they leave the office. This is an incorrect assumption. Some say it takes a month or more before they’re entirely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. The time you take is easily worth it according to those who are persistent.
Give yourself a few days, after getting home, to get accustomed to your new experience. It won’t be that much different than breaking in new shoes. You may need to use it in short intervals.
Start in a calm setting with a friend where you are only talking. Simple voices may sound different at first, and this can be disorienting. Ask your friends if you’re talking too loud and make the required adjustments.
Slowly increase the time you use your hearing aids and gradually add new places to visit.
You will have wonderful hearing experiences ahead of you if you can just be patient with yourself.
3. Being untruthful about your degree of hearing loss at your hearing exam
Responding honestly to the questions during your hearing test will assure you get fitted with the correct hearing aid technology.
Go back and get retested if you realize you might not have been totally honest after you get your hearing aids. Getting it straight the first time is better. The hearing aid type and style that will be ideal for you will be determined by the degree and kind of hearing loss you have.
For instance, certain hearing aids are better for people with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Others will be better for those with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Not getting a hearing aid fitting
There are numerous requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously juggle: They need to efficiently amplify sound, they need to be easy to put in and take out, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
When you’re getting fitted, you might:
- Undergo hearing tests to calibrate the appropriate power for your hearing aid.
- Have your ears precisely measured or have molds made (or both).
5. Not tracking your results
Once you’ve been fitted, it’s important to take notes on how your hearing aid feels and performs. If you have problems hearing in big rooms, make a note of that. If your right ear feels tighter than your left, make a note of that. If everything feels right, make a note. This can help us make personalized, tiny changes to help your hearing aids achieve optimum comfort and effectiveness.
6. Not thinking about how you will use your hearing aid in advance
Water-resistant hearing aids do exist. However, water can seriously damage others. Some have advanced features you may be willing to pay more for because you take pleasure in certain activities.
You can ask our opinion but the decision is yours. You won’t use your hearing aid if it doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle and only you know what features you will use.
You’ll be using your hearing aid for quite a while. So you don’t want to regret settling when you really would have benefited from a certain feature.
Some other things to take into consideration
- To be completely satisfied, discuss these preferences before your fitting.
- How obvious your hearing aid is might be something you’re worried about. Or, you might want to make a bold statement.
- Maybe you want a high degree of automation. Or perhaps you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of individual. How much battery life will you need?
Many issues that come up regarding fit, lifestyle, and how you use your hearing aids can be resolved through the fitting process. What’s more, many hearing aid manufacturers will let you try out the devices before making a decision. During this test period, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether a specific brand of hearing aid would fit the bill.
7. Not appropriately taking care of your hearing aids
Most hearing aids are quite sensitive to moisture. You might want to get a dehumidifier if you live in an overly humid location. Keeping your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take baths or showers may not be the best idea.
Consistently wash your hands before touching the hearing aid or batteries. Oils encountered naturally on your hand can effect how well the hearing aid functions and the life of the batteries.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells build up on the hearing aid. Instead, the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures should be implemented.
The life and function of your hearing aid will be increased by taking these basic steps.
8. Failing to have a set of spare batteries
Often, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. When you’re about to learn who did it at the crucial moment of your favorite show, your batteries quit without warning.
Like many electronics, battery life varies depending on your usage and the outside environment. So even if you recently replaced your batteries, keep an extra set with you. Don’t miss out on something special because of an unpredictable battery.
9. Not practicing 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 heavy lifting. But it’s not only your ears that are affected by hearing loss, it’s also the regions of your brain in charge of interpreting all those sounds.
You can start to work on restoring those ear-to-brain connections after you get your new hearing aids. For some individuals, this might happen quite naturally and this is especially true if the hearing loss happened recently. But others will need a more focused approach to restore their ability to hear. A couple of typical strategies include the following.
Reading out loud
Reading out loud is one of the easiest ways to rebuild those pathways between your ears and your brain. Even if you feel a little strange at first you should still practice like this. You’re doing the essential work of linking the words (which you read) to the sound (which you say). Your hearing will get better and better as you keep practicing.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of reading something out loud yourself, then you can always go the audiobook route. You can buy (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version of that same text. Then, you read along with the book as the audiobook plays. 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 making sense of) speech again.