In this segment of Sound Advice, our panel of hearing care professionals have some helpful information about exactly what you can expect the first few weeks after purchasing hearing aids. Plus, learn about some useful features that you might not be aware of!

What’s one unexpected thing that new hearing aid users often don’t know?

Be patient, it takes time to adjust to the new sounds your brain is hearing.

“We don’t just fit hearing aids and miraculously you are hearing again like you were when you were a teenager. We start at a comfortable setting based on your hearing test, usually 70%-80% of your end target goal, then gradually increase that percentage as you get accustomed to all the different sounds.”

-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS
There is an acclimation period.

“Even though it is discussed at consultation and delivery, some folks have a tendency to “Give Up” thinking they will never understand how to use them or how the Hearing Aids could ever possibly help. It takes time to acclimate to them, that’s why we give patients 45 days and several visits to “Dial” them in.”
-George Chamberlin, HIS


Properly fitted hearing aids are good for your brain!

“I always tell new hearing aid users that hearing aids stimulate their auditory pathways.  Therefore, it is beneficial to wear them during all waking hours.”
-Eric Mayer, HIS

image of woman being helped by an audiologist

How can users make the most of their hearing aids?


Users should wear them everyday.

Wear them everyday to keep the brain active, clean them every morning, wear them as much as possible in all listening environments. Also, make sure you see your specialist for routine check-ups.”
 
-George Chamberlin, HIS
Make sure your hearing aids are routinely cleaned and checked.

“Since all hearing aids require a certain level of maintenance, hearing aid users can learn from their HCP how to keep them clean. I have found that wax can work itself into hearing aid earmolds or receivers, and even microphone covers. If the hearing user is aware that their ears produce a lot of wax, it is wise to have regularly scheduled visits to their doctor’s office for ear wax removal. Hearing aid users should always send their hearing aids out for repair just prior to the warranty expiration date as well.” 
 
-Eric Mayer, HIS
Getting full-time use of hearing aids is imperative.

“So many users feel that they only need to wear their hearing aids when they go out to social functions, meetings, church, etc.  When the user takes this approach, they never fully adjust to their hearing aids. People often struggle much more in noisy situations with part time use because their brain never fully recognizes what normal levels sound like.”
 
-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS

What’s a feature about hearing aids many users commonly miss?

Hearing aids require regular maintenance to be in optimal working condition.

“Factors such as earwax, sweat, or dirt and dust can cause issues with how well the hearing aids are functioning.  Sometimes I don’t see people for 2-3 years after they purchase their hearing aids. At this point their hearing aids usually are not functioning to the best of their ability, and these same users are having difficulty hearing in multiple situations. Scheduling a clean and check appointment at 6 months is advised so the hearing aids can have a deeper cleaning other than the daily maintenance users should be doing.   It is also recommended to have yearly hearing evaluations to make sure that your hearing is not changing, and to make sure your current hearing aids are meeting your hearing needs.”
 
-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS
Hearing aid accessories can bring added functions and benefits.

"There is an entire line of accessories to choose from such as a plug-and-play TV Connector.  Specific to newer Phonak hearing aid users, the more sophisticated Roger accessories bridge the gap in the most challenging noise environments.  Accessories can lead a client to a greater satisfaction with the hearing aids and improve his or her quality of life in sometimes unexpected ways."
-Eric Mayer, HIS
Hearing instruments are adding new functions everyday.

"Whether it be engaging the Public T-Coil, changing the Volume or changing programs for different listening environments. Blue-tooth interaction (cell phones, tablets, TV Connectors, Roger Devices.....). These convenient features can be easily missed."
-George Chamberlin, HIS

What are your favorite aspects about today’s hearing aids?

photo of George Chamberlin, a hearing instrument specialist in Venice, FL
New functions are being developed for users day-to-day activities.

"With our Marvel technology, the patient has a more “Hands-On” approach, being able to talk on the phone hands free. MyPhonak App allows them to control everything within it including access to customizable programs, also Remote Sessions. The Clarity and Noise reduction stand out, and now direct connectivity to the Roger accessories is a win-win."
 
-George Chamberlin, HIS
Today’s technology is the easiest that hearing aids have ever been to use.

“Being in the industry for 15 years, I have seen many changes over the years in hearing aids. There are rechargeable hearing aids, which means no more changing tiny batteries, or worry that your hearing aid will go out when you are in the middle of something important.  They can be completely automatic, adapting seamlessly to different environments to give the best possible hearing in that situation. They can even connect wirelessly to many devices, including cell phones and television, to stream that signal directly through the hearing aids. I am thrilled to be able to offer this technology to my clients, changing their quality of life for the better."

-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS
Today’s hearing aids are that there is something for everyone.

“The latest models offer rich, clear sound, and robust background noise reduction circuitry. Due to advances in the miniaturization of the internal components, many of the newest hearing aids fit today offer a direct Bluetooth connection to a user’s mobile phone without the need for an external streaming device. It’s all inside the hearing aid! I also fit small, durable hearing aids which offer a more discrete solution. I really like that fact that many models of hearing aids now offer the rechargeable option. It is not only convenient, but also offers a great choice for individuals who have dexterity issues and do not want the fuss of having to change the batteries on their hearing aids.”
-Eric Mayer, HIS

What’s one question you wish more clients would ask about their hearing aids?

How can I make sure I am hearing the best I can with my devices?

“Helping the client understand the role they play in their journey to better hearing is extremely important. I always let them know that the hearing aid is only as good as the information they give me. Sure, I have their hearing evaluation, but the more open and honest they are about the challenges they have with their hearing and the situations they are in most frequently, the better I can program and fine tune their instruments.  I can also make sure they are in the appropriate devices for their hearing needs and lifestyle.”

-Kimberly G. Clark, HIS

When do you think I should upgrade my hearing aids?

“While many providers in the hearing industry at large follow general guidelines, I have found that it is crucial to have an individualized approach.  Ideally, my clients should see me just prior to the expiration of their three-year hearing aid repair warranty.  I can then send their hearing aids to the manufacturer for in-warranty servicing.  At the same time, I can fit my clients with a set of new loaner hearing aids, which gives them a demonstration of the new products. Many of my clients like to upgrade their hearing aids every three or four years.  They also like to have a back-up set of hearing aids that are in good working condition. The upgrade question is a really good question for a client to ask his or her provider!"

-Eric Mayer, HIS