Tips for your Success with Hearing Aids
SUCCESS WITH HEARING AIDS
Hearing aids “in the top drawer”, “too noisy”, “uncomfortable”, “hard to manage”. We’ve all heard these comments. Here is your guide to avoiding them and getting the best hearing help possible.
- Reduce wax blockage
- Brush the silicone dome, sound holes or filters daily for 5 seconds
- Change the filters every month
- Consider an ongoing way of keeping your ears free of wax if it interferes with your hearing aids e.g. wax drops, sprays, syringing, microsuction
- Get Help Early On
- Return to your audiologist if the sound isn’t right, or you’ve forgotten something. It can sometimes take a number of fine tunings to achieve a comfortable sound/ earpiece. Please remember also to ask your audiologist what the hearing aid limits are, in your main listening environments. They can make your life much easier, but can’t work miracles!
A NEW HEARING AID FITTING
Instructions: Consider taking a pen and paper to your fitting appointment – or friend, or family member! Important details at appointments are frequently forgotten. Instruction books will be very helpful, but not all details will be relevant to you. To keep it as an easy reference, highlight the important sections.
Your Voice. Your voice may sound different: i) louder, because it’s amplified; ii) “strange” because you’re hearing it through a microphone, and you may not have heard it so clearly for some time; iii) “echoey” because a part of the aid sits in your ear canal. Let your audiologist know if it is either too much or distracting.
Loud Sounds: it’s important that the louder sounds of the world are heard, they’re part of normal life. However if they’re uncomfortable, let your audiologist know e.g. crockery, doors shutting, footsteps, paper. Even after we’ve adjusted the aids, you may still “find” uncomfortable sounds weeks or months later. It is the same process – please return for further fine tuning.
As with loud sounds, it’s important to be aware of, but not “invaded” by soft sounds. If you find the fridge or AC is too loud, let us know. If distant sounds seem to interfere with nearby sounds, also please let us know.
Clearer speech in background noise is the main hearing goal for many of us. Hearing aids cannot remove 100% of the noise, however they have improved greatly in the last 10 years. This includes a range of features inside the aids and some mobile phone App’s for managing noise and increasing speech. As well as clarity, your audiologist will aim to optimise comfort in background noise. Again, this can take time as new issues may arise weeks or months after the initial fitting.
NOW THAT YOU’RE EXPERIENCED
Combining Lifestyle with Technology
Perseverance and a partnership with your audiologist will ensure the most optimal settings and uses of your hearing aids. Digital technology on it’s own however, won’t overcome all communication challenges. Best results include attention to room acoustics, clarifying unclear speech, face-to-face conversation etc. “Hearing Loss & Conversation at Home” describes these and other strategies, and is available at Art of Hearing.
Managing Hearing Aids
- It’s important that your aids are comfortable, and easy for you to to attach. If you have any issues (including itchiness) inside your ear canal, on top of, or behind your ear, let your Audiologist know.
- Sometimes the piece inside your ear may be loose, or seem to work it’s way out after a time. We will explore a different insertion technique or alternative plug for you.
- If there are controls on the aids difficult to manage or you’ve forgotten how to use -also let us know.
LONG TERM SUCCESS
Good hearing aid fittings require a series of real life trials and improvements, over time. Reasons for this are i) you may “get used to” some tuning, plugs or modifications but not others – time does tell”; ii) after several months of daily hearing aid use, there are physical changes in the brain, leading to improved processing of sound. You may now be better adapted to a wider range of sound settings than in the first weeks; iii) some of the full range of experiences you want improved hearing in may occur infrequently e.g. coffee with a close friend every month or so.