Do you suspect you may need hearing aids? If so, the following guide will help you navigate the process like a pro. Just understand that there is no such thing as “ready-to-wear” hearing aids. They need to be customized to your needs. Get a trusted hearing care professional to help you through this process.
Here’s your pro-plan for hearing aid success:
Before your first appointment
At your hearing test appointment, your hearing care professional will test your hearing, review the results, and help you decide if hearing aids are a good idea for you at this point in your life. Be fully prepared for this appointment by writing up a list of questions before you go.
Include these and any other questions you have:
- Do I suffer from mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss?
- Can hearing aids help me? Do I need them for both ears?
- What hearing aids would best fit my needs?
- How should I decide to balance desired features with price?
- How can I pay for my hearing aids? (Insurance, credit, installment plans, state programs, etc.)
At your hearing test appointment
There may be a chance your hearing tests will come back negative for hearing loss. If that’s the case, you’ll at least have a baseline test to compare with any future test results.
But if you do test positive for hearing loss, you might benefit from hearing aids. Insist that your hearing care professional review all of your options with you.
There are so many variables to consider when considering what type of hearing aids to get. This list will help you get the answers you need:
- Programmability – Most modern hearing aid models are digital and programmable to correct your individual hearing loss diagnosis. Be forewarned: if someone tries to sell you a hearing instrument just 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 weight ease-of-use, functionality, aesthetics and price when deciding on hearing aid models.
- Wireless connectivity – Most modern hearing aid models connect wirelessly to most of today’s smartphones. This gives you the power to discreetly control volume and settings, send phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even stream music all without wires or the need for separate hearing aid remote controls.
- 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 your new hearing aids come 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 it will be normal.
When you first get your hearing aids, start off with some quiet experiments at home. Try watching a quieter movie and focus on dialog and small sounds. Have a one-on-one chat with a friend in a quiet room, and try listening to music and picking out or following certain instruments.
Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, 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 the adjustment process, and after a few weeks, the effort will pay off and your hearing aids will feel more natural.
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 adjustment period, you’ll really start enjoying all the improved hearing benefits of your new hearing aids. If you have more questions about hearing aids, or the process of acquiring them, give us a call!