Getting hearing aids is nothing like buying a box of mac and cheese at the grocery store. It’s not simple and it requires a considerable amount of customization and work with your hearing care professional. But don’t be alarmed! Though the process may seem complicated, your expert hearing care professional can make the process easier for you, particularly if you look through this guide and know what to expect before you head in for your first hearing test.
Before your first appointment
If you suspect you may not be hearing everything you used to, schedule a hearing test. Your hearing care professional will examine your hearing, review your test results and discuss whether or not you need hearing aids yet. Before you go to this appointment, create a list of questions you want answers for and don’t forget to ask them. Here’s a starter kit of questions for your hearing care professional:
- What sort of hearing loss did my tests reveal? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
- Can hearing aids help me?
- Do I need hearing aids for both ears, and just one ear?
- Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How can I balance price with features?
- What are your financing options? (Installment plans, private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your hearing test appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, good news! You don’t need hearing aids yet, but now you’ll have a baseline test to compare with any future hearing tests.
If your hearing test comes back positive for hearing loss, you might benefit from hearing aids. Your hearing care professional will review your options with you then.
While going through the hearing aid selection process, discuss all of the following items with your hearing care professional:
Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable; they can be programmed to correct your particular level of hearing loss. Don’t let anyone try to sell you a hearing instrument right out of the box with no adjustment necessary; it simply won’t work the way you want it to.
Style – hearing aids come in a wide variety of sizes, styles and fits. Some models sit behind the ear, other models fit all the way within the ear canal. You’ll want to balance price, ease-of-use, functionality, and aesthetics in making your decision.
Wireless connectivity – several hearing aid models can communicate wirelessly with compatible smartphones. This puts power in your hands to discreetly adjust volume and settings, send phone calls right to your hearing aids, and stream your favorite music playlists—not wires remote controls necessary.
Advanced features – some hearing aids are loaded with advanced technological features: telecoils for crisp phone calls, directional microphones to improve speech sounds, background noise reduction, environmental settings and more. Consider whether or not you actually need some of these options, or if you can opt for a more cost-effective device.
This may all seem confusing, but your hearing care professional can expertly guide you through the whole process. Be warned: if someone tries to nudge you into a decision without addressing all of your questions, see another hearing care professional.
Bringing new hearing aids home
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, it’s time to get busy living a new life with them. Understand and remember the following two important points:
First, you simply won’t fall in love with your hearing aids immediately. You’re going to have to adjust to hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a long time, and the overall sound may seem “weird” initially. This is utterly normal and your brain and ears will adjust over the next few days and weeks.
We recommend starting small while you’re at home. Try watching a movie and paying particular attention to the dialogue, engage in one-on-one conversations in a quiet room, and try listening to music and picking out or following certain instruments.
Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, you should try to wear your hearing aids as much of the day as possible, putting them in when you wake up and taking them out before bed. This will speed up the adjustment process, and after a few weeks, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
If you still struggle to hear, or to adapt to the new sounds, your hearing aids can be adjusted more than once! Don’t settle for less: schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune your hearing aids.
Second, for the best results, you’ll need to properly maintain and care for your new hearing aids. This means daily cleaning, proper storage, and managing your battery supply.
You can make these tasks easier on yourself with the right tools and habits. Hearing aid cleaning kits, storage cases/sanitizers, and batteries can all be supplied, with tips, from your hearing care professional.
After a short adjustment period, you’ll not only enjoy better hearing, you’ll wonder why on earth you waited so long to try hearing aids in the first place. If you have any other questions about hearing aids, or the process of acquiring them, give us a call!