The most important thing to know, first of all, is that there are no “ready-to-wear” hearing aids out there. Your hearing care professional will need to work with you to select hearing instruments that are customized to help you with your personal level of hearing loss. Follow this guide as you work through the process to get your best results with any new set of hearing aids
Prepare for your hearing test appointment
Of course, you can’t study to improve your hearing test results—but you can study up on your options if your test results show that you have some hearing loss. During this appointment, your hearing care professional will thoroughly evaluate your hearing, review the test results and help you figure out your “next steps”. Make sure to write out a list of questions (like the following) to bring with you to your hearing test appointment:
- What sort of hearing loss level do I have? Is it mild, moderate, severe, or profound?
- Would hearing aids be a beneficial option for me at this time?
- Do I need them for both of my ears?
- Which hearing aid is best for my needs? How can I balance features with cost?
- How can I finance my hearing aids? (Private insurance, credit arrangements, state programs, etc.)
During your appointment
If the results of your hearing test come back normal, hearing aids may not be required, and you’ll have a baseline test to compare future hearing tests.
If the results indicate that you really do have some level of hearing loss, and that you can benefit from hearing aids, your hearing care professional will review your options with you.
Make sure that if you’re in the process of selecting hearing aids, that you go through all of these considerations with your hearing care professional before making your choice:
- Programmability – most hearing aids are digital and programmable so that they can be programmed to match the specifications of your hearing loss. This is crucial; if someone tries to sell you a hearing instrument right out of the box with no adjustment necessary, it probably won’t work the way you want it to.
- Style – hearing aids come in bunch of different sizes and styles, from models that sit behind the ear to models that fit entirely 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 hook up wirelessly to compatible smartphones. This gives you the option to discreetly send phone calls right to your hearing aids, adjust volume and settings, and even stream your favorite music without any wires or a separate hearing aid remote control.
- Advanced features – some hearing aids come equipped with additional advanced features, like directional microphones to enhance speech, background noise reduction, environmental settings, and telecoils for clearer phone calls. You may also want to forgo some of these options and opt for a more cost-effective model.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, your hearing care professional can help guide you through the entire decision-making process. But if someone tries to rush or steer you to a decision without addressing your questions, that’s a sign you should find another hearing care professional.
Once you’ve selected your hearing aids and had them programmed by your hearing care professional, you’re ready to bring them home. But you should keep two things in mind.
First, don’t expect to fall in love with your hearing aids immediately. You’ll likely be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a while, and the overall sound will just seem “off.” This is perfectly normal and, after a few weeks, will subside.
We recommend starting small 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.
Don’t forget that if you’re not adjusting to your hearing aids after a few days, your hearing aids can be adjusted. If you have trouble hearing or adapting to the new sounds, schedule a follow-up visit with your hearing care professional to fine-tune the settings.
Second, you’ll need to learn how to take good care of your hearing aids at home in order to keep them working at their top levels. This includes daily cleaning, proper storage, and managing your battery supply.
Ask your hearing care professional how you can make the adjustment process smoother with the right tools (like storage cases, sanitizers and cleaning kits, extra batteries, etc.) and care habits.
After you allow yourself and your hearing aids a short adjustment period, you’ll be able to enjoy the all the benefits of better hearing. If you have any questions at all about hearing aids, or the process of being fitted, buying and adjusting to them, give us a call!