If you discover you need hearing aids, understand that you can’t just pop any old hearing aid models into your ears and expect positive results. You’ll need to work with a qualified hearing care professional from the initial hearing test all the way through choosing a model that addresses your needs, the adjustment phase and beyond.
Start your new hearing aid journey with these steps to success:
Before your hearing test appointment
Three important things will happen at your first hearing test:
- Your hearing care professional guides you through the hearing evaluation test
- He or she will review your test results carefully
- Together, you’ll discuss these results and embark on the next steps in deciding what your hearing needs are.
Before you go to your appointment, make a list of questions to ask so that you’ll be prepared for whatever happens. Here’s a few to begin with:
- To what extent (mild, moderate, severe or profound) do I suffer from hearing loss?
- Do I need hearing aids at this point in time?
- 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 a hearing loss situation, 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, you should go elsewhere.
Getting used to hearing aids at home
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, it’s time to bring them home and start the adjustment process. From that first moment you put them in at home, remember the following two important points:
First, it will take time for you to fall in love with your new hearing aids. You’ll likely be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a while. This is perfectly normal and, after a few weeks, you’ll start to adjust and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without those sounds for so long.
We recommend starting small at home. Try watching a movie and paying particular attention to the dialogue. Have a one-on-one conversation in a quiet room with a friend. Listen to some favorite music and see if you can follow certain instruments or pick out individual voices.
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 after a few days, we can adjust your hearing aids! Schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings if you’re still having trouble hearing or adapting to the new soundscape.
Second, to ensure continued performance, you’ll need to properly maintain and care for your new hearing aids. You’ll need to properly clean, store and watch your battery supply so everything keeps working as it should for a long time.
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 adjustment period, you’ll really start to enjoy better hearing and a better quality of life. If you have any other questions about hearing aids, or the process of acquiring them, give us a call!