Don’t let anyone who tell you hearing aids are a ready-to-wear deal. There’s a whole process, from testing to evaluating different models to adjusting and readjusting to your new hearing aids. Know what to expect and work with a qualified hearing care professional for best results!
Here’s how to plan for every step of the hearing aid process.
Before you go to your hearing test appointment
Start by scheduling a hearing test with your local, trusted hearing care professional. You’ll get your hearing tested and together you can evaluate the results and determine whether or not you actually need hearing aids now. Before that first appointment, make sure to jot down a list of questions and bring them with you. Get answers!
These are the basic questions you’ll want to cover, but add more if you have them:
- What type of hearing loss do I have? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
- Can hearing aids help me?
- Can I get by with a hearing aid for one ear, or do I need them for both?
- Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How can I balance features with cost?
- What are my financing options for hearing aids? (Private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
In the event that the results of your hearing test come back normal, you won’t need hearing aids now, but you’ll have a touchstone test to compare any future hearing tests with.
If your hearing test comes back positive for hearing loss, and indicates that you could benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
If you are selecting hearing aids, discuss the following items with your hearing care professional:
- Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable; they can be programmed to match the exact 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 much larger variety of sizes, styles and fits than ever before. Some models sit just behind the ear while other models fit discreetly inside the ear canal. You’ll want to balance functionality, aesthetics, price and ease-of-use before settling on your hearing aid model.
- Wireless connectivity – several hearing aid models can connect directly and wirelessly to compatible smartphones. This makes it possible for you to discreetly adjust volume and settings, send phone calls directly to your hearing aids, and even stream music without any wires or hearing aid remote controls.
- Advanced features – some hearing aids are loaded with advanced technological features, some of which you may or may not need, depending on what you can budget for. These features may include: telecoils for crisp phone calls, directional microphones to enhance speech, environmental settings and background noise reduction.
Don’t let all of these considerations overwhelm you. Take the process one step at a time with the help of your hearing care professional. Just be aware: if someone tries to rush you into purchasing hearing aids without addressing all of your concerns, see another hearing care professional.
Once you get them home
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, it’s time to get busy living a new life with them. Understand and remember the following two important points:
First, you simply won’t fall in love with your hearing aids immediately. You’re going to have to adjust to hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a long time, and the overall sound may seem “off.” This is completely 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 also that your hearing aids won’t fit you like a proverbial glove at first – they’ll take some getting used to. To speed up the adjustment process, try to wear your hearing aids throughout as much of the day as possible. Insert them in when you wake up and don’t take them out until you get ready for bed. This will speed up the adjustment process, and after a few weeks, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
Don’t forget that your hearing aids can be adjusted too! If you still struggle to hear, or to adapt to the new sounds, schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings.
Second, for the best results, 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 ready 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!