Congrats! You’ve just become the proud owner of hearing aids – a great piece of modern tech. But, just like with all new devices, there will be things that hearing aid wearers wish someone had informed them about.
Let’s look at nine typical mistakes new hearing aid owners make and how you can steer clear of them.
1. Not learning how hearing aids work
To put it simply, learn your hearing aid’s functions. It likely has exclusive features that drastically improve the hearing experience in different environments such as restaurants, theaters, or walking down the street.
It may be able to sync wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It might also have a setting that makes phone calls clearer.
If you use this sophisticated technology in such a basic way, without understanding these features, you can easily get stuck in a rut. Hearing aids nowadays can do more than make the sound louder.
In order to get the clearest and best sound quality, take some time to practice using the hearing aid in different places. Test out how well you hear by getting a friend or family member to assist you.
As with anything new, it will get easier after a little practice. And your hearing experience will be much better than when you simply raise and lower the volume.
2. Thinking that your hearing will immediately improve
It’s not uncommon for a new hearing aid owner to think that their hearing will be perfect from the first day. This isn’t a correct assumption. Some say it takes a month or more before they’re completely comfortable with their hearing aid. But stay positive. They also say it’s very worth it.
Give yourself a few days, after you get home, to get used to your new experience. It won’t be that much different than breaking in new shoes. Usually, you will need to go slow and use your new hearing aids a little at a time.
Start in a quiet setting with a friend where you’re only talking. Familiar voices may not sound the same at first, and this can be disorienting. Ask your friends if you’re speaking too loud and make the necessary adjustments.
Slowly start to visit new places and use the hearing aid for longer periods of time.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have countless great hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Not being honest about your level of hearing loss at your hearing exam
Responding honestly to the questions during your hearing test will ensure you get fitted with the correct hearing aid technology.
If you have your hearing aid and realize that perhaps you weren’t as honest as you may have been, come back and get retested. Getting it straight the first time is better. The degree and kind of hearing loss will determine the hearing aid styles that will work best for you.
For instance, certain hearing aids are better for people with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. People who are dealing with mid-range hearing loss will need different technology and etc.
4. Failing to have your hearing aid fitted
Your hearing aids need to juggle a few requirements at once: They need to efficiently boost sound, they need to be simple to put in and remove, and they need to be comfortable in your ears. All three of those variables will be resolved during your fitting.
During hearing aid fitting sessions, you may:
- Have your hearing tested to identify the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
It’s highly recommended that you take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels once you get fitted. Make a note if you are having a hard time hearing in a large room. If your right ear feels tighter than your left, note that. Even note if everything feels right on. With this knowledge, we can customize the settings of your hearing aid so it functions at peak efficiency and comfort.
6. Not thinking about how you will use your hearing aid ahead of time
Water-resistant hearing aids are available. However, water can significantly damage others. Maybe you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
You can ask our opinion but the decision must be yours. You won’t wear your hearing aid if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle and only you know what features you will use.
You’ll be wearing your hearing aid for quite a while. So you don’t want to be disappointed by settling when you really would have benefited from a certain function.
Some other things to consider
- Talk with us about these things before your fitting so you can be sure you’re completely satisfied.
- Perhaps you want a high degree of automation. Or maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself type of person. How much battery life will you require?
- You may care about whether your hearing aid is visible. Or maybe you want to wear them with style.
Throughout the fitting process we can address many of the issues regarding lifestyle, fit, and how you use your hearing aids. What’s more, many hearing aid manufacturers will let you try out the devices before making a decision. During this trial period, you’ll be able to get a sense of whether a particular brand of hearing aid would fit the bill.
7. Not appropriately caring for your hearing aids
Most hearing aids are very sensitive to moisture. If where you live is very humid, acquiring a dehumidifier may be worth the money. It’s a bad idea to store your hearing aid in the bathroom where people take showers.
Always wash your hands before touching the hearing aid or batteries. The life of your hearing aid and the longevity of its battery can be effected by the oils naturally present in your skin.
The hearing aid shouldn’t be allowed to collect earwax and skin cells. Instead, clean it based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking simple actions like these will increase the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Not getting spare batteries
Frequently, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid owners learn this one. When you’re about to discover who did it at the critical moment of your favorite show, your batteries quit without warning.
Like many electronic devices, battery life fluctuates depending on how you use it and the outside environment. So always keep a spare set of batteries handy, even if you just replaced them. Don’t let an unpredictable battery cause you to miss out on something significant.
9. Neglecting your hearing exercises
When you first get your hearing aids, there may be an assumption, and it’s not necessarily a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the heavy lifting. But the parts of your brain responsible for interpreting sound are also affected by hearing loss not just your ears.
You can start to work on restoring those ear-to-brain pathways once you get your new hearing aids. This may take place quite naturally for some individuals, especially if the hearing loss was rather recent. But other people will need a more structured plan to restore their ability to hear. The following are a couple of prevalent strategies.
Reading out loud
One of the best ways you can restore those pathways between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. Even if you feel a little odd initially you should still practice like this. You’re practicing reconnecting the feeling of saying words with the sounds they make. Your hearing will get better and better as you keep practicing.
If you don’t like the idea of reading something out loud personally, then you can always try audiobooks. You can purchase (or rent from the library) a physical copy of a book and the audiobook version together. Then, you read along with the book as the audiobook plays. You’ll hear a word while you’re reading it just like reading out loud. This will train the language parts of your brain to understand speech again.