There are a lot of benefits to wearing hearing aids. And just like breaking in a new pair of shoes, getting used to your new hearing aids takes time—and the process is different for everyone—but the rewards are more than worth it.
In this segment of Sound Advice, our panel of hearing care professionals has 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 know about!
What’s one unexpected thing that new hearing aid users often don’t know?
Susie Grafman: Being patient is the key.
“When we haven't heard sounds in a long time and then put on hearing aids, our brains don’t immediately remember how to tune out the sounds that aren't as important, such as footsteps or air conditioning humming. It takes time for your brain to adjust.”
Marina Mulvey: Your voice may sound different at first.
“While hearing aids help you hear others, hearing aids also make your own voice sound different. You will hear yourself better, and it may be louder than you are used to. The more you use the hearing aids, the more accustomed to your new voice you will become.”
James Rock: Clean your hearing aids regularly.
“The one thing new users should know is that they have to make sure that they are cleaning their hearing aids regularly especially the microphones. These are always the first thing we check when patients come in to the office saying that their aids are not working for them.”
How can hearing aid users make the most of their hearing aids?
Susie Grafman: Schedule regular hearing evaluations.
“Wearing the aids from twelve to fourteen hours every day will help the patient adapt and hear better. Also, it’s important for patients to come in to their follow-up visits with us, so we can be sure they are adapting well.”
Marina Mulvey: Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments.
“Use your hearing aids every day, all day long. Soon you will be accustomed to the feeling in your ears, as well as all the new and different sounds you are hearing. If anything is uncomfortably loud or continues to bother you, tell your audiologist or hearing specialist so they can help with adjustments.”
James Rock: Wear them all day.
“I would say that to get the most out of their hearing aids, users need to be wearing them from the time they get up to the time they go to bed. This will give them the maximum opportunity to hear the best.”
What’s a feature or aspect about hearing aids many users commonly miss?
Susie Grafman:The automatic feature.
The automatic feature of hearing aids adjusts your device’s volume based on your listening environment. For example, in a situation where noise fluctuates quickly (picture: walking down a quiet street when an ambulance suddenly passes by) your hearing aids automatically decrease the volume level until the loud noise had passed.
“Patients can get so used to hearing aids, and they don't realize that the automatic feature is actually working well for them.”
Marina Mulvey: Bluetooth®-enabled technology.
With Bluetooth technology, many of today’s hearing aids can wirelessly stream sound from televisions, cell phones, and computers directly to the user’s devices, or with the help of a body-worn streamer.
“Many older patients really enjoy television and movies, which is a significant portion of their entertainment as well as their connection to the world. At first, some patients see Bluetooth as something so complicated, but it is so simple to use!”
James Rock: The wide variety of accessories.
“There are a lot of useful accessories, especially if patients are having a harder time hearing in noise or from the TV. We welcome our patients to try a free demo of these accessories in our office. That way, they can experience the full benefit before they buy.”
What are your favorite aspects about today’s hearing aids?
Susie Grafman: They’re small and comfortable.
“Compared to just five years ago, they are much sleeker and patients hardly feel them now. Additionally, we now have rechargeable hearing aids so patients won’t have to struggle with changing batteries once a week. I also love that we have so much connectivity to phones and Bluetooth® wireless devices.”
Marina Mulvey: They don’t make the “squealing” noise anymore.
“The control of feedback. Patients and their loved ones don’t have to experience the acoustic squeal any longer! The automatic features that adjust for different listening environments eliminate this problem.”
James Rock: They’re easy for hearing care professionals to customize through programming.
Just as you can’t just fit any lenses into your frames without the help of a qualified eye care professional, it takes a hearing care professional to customize your hearing aids. And with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever for hearing care professionals to ensure your device fits your ear and your hearing abilities well.
“My favorite aspects of the new aids are the ability to be programmed without the use of wires, and that they can now be paired with any Bluetooth® cell phone.”
What’s one question you wish more clients would ask about their hearing aids?
Susie Grafman: What are my hearing aids capable of?
“Hearing aids are capable of giving back clarity of speech, however everyone’s experience is going to be different.”
Marina Mulvey: How soon can I upgrade?
“Many patients think their hearing aids will last forever, or at least ten years, however hearing aid technology advances much more rapidly than that. The advantages of improvements in technology have great potential to benefit our patients every two or three years.”
Following the advice of our experts, there are a few key things you can do to ensure your journey to better hearing is both smooth and enjoyable. Remember: ask questions, learn what today’s technology can do for you, and make sure you have realistic expectations of both the capabilities and limitations of hearing aids. This will help greatly improve your experience with hearing aids.
Another big thank you to our panel for their insights! Visit our Sound Advice blog series to read more great articles from our panel of hearing care professionals. If you liked this post, be sure to share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.
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