Congratulations! Modern hearing aids are an impressive piece of technology, and you’ve recently become the proud owner of a shiny new pair. But new hearing aid users will wish somebody had told them certain things, as with any new technology.
Let’s examine how a new hearing aid user can avoid the 9 most common hearing aid mistakes.
1. Not knowing how hearing aids work
To put it simply, learn your hearing aid’s features. The hearing experience will be greatly improved if you know how to use advanced features for different settings like on the street, at the movies, or in a restaurant.
It might be able to sync wirelessly to your smartphone, TV, or stereo. It may also have a setting that makes phone calls clearer.
If you don’t learn about these features, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut by using your technologically-sophisticated hearing aid in a basic way. Modern hearing aids do more than simply raise the volume of external sounds.
Practice wearing your hearing aid in different places in order to learn how to attain the clearest sound quality. Check out how well you hear by asking a friend or family member to help you.
Like anything new, it will get easier after a little practice. And your hearing experience will be 10X better than when you simply raise and lower the volume.
2. Expecting instant improvement in your hearing
In line with number one, many new hearing aid owners think their hearing will be optimal as they walk out of the office. This assumption is usually not how it works. It typically takes up to a month for most new users to get comfortable with their new hearing aids. But don’t get frustrated. The time you take is easily worth it according to those who are diligent.
Give yourself a few days, after you get home, to get used to your new experience. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You might need to wear it in short intervals.
Start in a quiet setting with a friend where you’re just talking. It can be a bit disorienting initially because voices might not sound the same. Ask your friends if you’re speaking too loud and make the required adjustments.
Slowly increase the time you use your hearing aids and progressively add new places to visit.
Be patient with yourself, and you’ll have countless great hearing experiences to look forward to.
3. Being untruthful about your degree of hearing loss at your hearing exam
In order to be certain you get the correct hearing aid technology, it’s essential to answer any questions we may ask honestly.
If you already have your hearing aid and realize that perhaps you weren’t as honest as you could have been, go back and ask to be retested. But it’s better if you get it right the first time. The level and kind of hearing loss will determine the hearing aid styles that work best for you.
For example, some hearing aids are better for individuals with hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Others are better for those with mid-frequency hearing loss and so on.
4. Failing to have your hearing aid fitted
There are several requirements that your hearing aids need to simultaneously manage: they need to be comfortable on or in your ears, they need to be simple to put in and remove, and they need to boost the sounds around you efficiently. All three of those variables will be addressed during your fitting.
When you’re getting fitted, you may:
- Have your hearing tested to determine the power level of your hearing aid.
- Have molds of your ears made and measurements taken.
5. Not tracking your results
It’s important that you take notes on how your hearing aid performs and feels once you get fitted. Make a note if you are having trouble hearing in a large room. If your right ear seems tighter than your left, note that. Even note if everything feels great. This can help us make custom, minute adjustments to help your hearing aids achieve peak comfort and effectiveness.
6. Not anticipating how you’ll use your hearing aids
Some hearing aids are water-resistant. However, water can seriously damage others. Perhaps you enjoy certain activities and you are willing to pay extra for more sophisticated features.
You might ask our opinion but the decision must be yours. Only you know what advanced features you’ll actually use and that’s worth committing to because if the hearing aids don’t work with your lifestyle you won’t wear them.
You’ll be using your hearing aid for a long time. So if you really need certain features, you don’t want to settle for less.
Some other things to consider
- How noticeable your hearing aid is may be important to you. Or, you may want to make a bold statement.
- To be completely satisfied, talk about these preferences before your fitting.
- You might prefer something that is really automated. Or perhaps you enjoy having more control over the volume. 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 during the fitting process. Also, you might be able to demo out your hearing aids before you commit to a purchase. This demo period will help you figure out which brand will be best for your needs.
7. Not properly taking care of your hearing aids
Moisture is a serious challenge for most hearing aids. If where you live is very humid, getting a dehumidifier may be worth the money. It’s not a good idea to keep your hearing aid in the bathroom where everyone showers.
Always wash your hands before handling the hearing aid or batteries. Oils encountered normally on your hand can impact how well the hearing aid works and the life of the batteries.
Don’t let earwax or skin cells build up on the hearing aid. Instead, clean it based on the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Taking simple steps like these will improve the life and function of your hearing aid.
8. Failing to have a set of spare batteries
Frequently, it’s the worst time when new hearing aid users learn this one. Suddenly, when you’re watching your favorite show, your batteries quit just as you’re about to learn “who done it”.
Like most electronics, battery life fluctuates depending on your usage and the external environment. So even if you just changed your batteries, keep a spare set with you. Don’t miss out on something special because of an unpredictable battery.
9. Neglecting your hearing exercises
When you first get your hearing aids, there may be an assumption, and it’s not always a baseless assumption, that your hearing aid will do all the work. 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.
Once you’ve got your hearing aids, you’ll be able to start the work of restoring some of those ear-to-brain pathways and links. For some individuals, this might happen quite naturally and this is particularly true if the hearing loss happened recently. But others will need a more focused strategy to rebuild their ability to hear. A couple of common strategies include the following.
Reading out loud
One of the most efficient ways you can recreate those pathways between your ears and your brain is to spend some time reading out loud. Even if you feel a bit odd at first 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 yourself, then you can always try audiobooks. You can buy (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. And that helps the hearing-and-language part of your brain get used to hearing (and making sense of) speech again.