Making the Most of a New Hearing Aid
Once you’ve purchased hearing aids to improve your hearing, you might think your journey is over. However, getting hearing aids is really just the first step. It takes time and practice to make the most of hearing devices – but there are some things you can do to make the journey easier. Here are some of our tips for getting more out of your hearing aids from the start.
WEAR YOUR HEARING AIDS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
At first, it can be difficult to get used to the new and unfamiliar sound from your hearing aids. It can be tempting to turn them off or take them out. Instead, try to wear them as often as possible and get used to the “new” sounds. This will help your ears and your brain to adjust to the new stimulation more naturally and will make the adjustment period shorter.
GIVE THE PROCESS TIME
Hearing loss is a gradual process that can take place over many years. Regaining your hearing with a hearing aid is faster, but it’s not instantaneous. You’ll need to be patient and give your brain and body time to adjust to your new hearing aids. Many people take weeks or months to fully adjust to wearing hearing aids, so don’t be surprised if you need to make adjustments or take time to get the most out of yours.
MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
One of the biggest misconceptions about hearing aids is the idea they can restore your hearing to the way it was before you experienced any hearing loss. Unfortunately, most people wearing hearing aids hear differently than they did before they needed them. This is due to several factors, including damage to the ear and the limits of hearing aid technology. Don’t expect your hearing to be just like you remember it – instead, look at hearing aids as a way to augment your communication and listening ability.
DON’T FORGET TO PRACTICE
One way to get more out of your hearing aids is to practice wearing them in different environments so you can learn best what works for you. Start with a quiet place like your own home, a library, or a quiet coffeeshop. Then, as you get used to your hearing aids, you can practice changing settings for other environments like restaurants, performances, or busy public spaces. This will help you acclimate to normal background noises and learn what combination of volume settings and listening modes works best for you.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEARING AIDS PROPERLY
Hearing aids are sensitive devices, and they need to taken care of to ensure they continue working correctly. Here are a few tips for maintaining and caring for your hearing aids:
- Keep Them Clean – Wipe your hearing aids with a soft cloth every day to remove wax and oils. You can use a slightly damp cloth (such as a baby wipe) for more effective cleaning, but never use chemical cleaners or a soaking cloth.
- Keep Them Dry – Always remove your hearing aids before showering, swimming, or other extended water exposure, and never leave your devices in extremely humid conditions like your bathroom or a sauna. You can also store your hearing aids in a drying kit to help keep the interior dry while they are not in use.
- Keep Them Safe – Avoid exposing your hearing aids to damaging conditions and substances. This includes avoiding extreme heat and extreme cold, damaging chemicals (such as those found in some makeup, hairspray, and other cosmetics), and any physical damage.
CHECK AND CHANGE BATTERIES
Caring for your hearing aid requires you to care for the batteries as well. Because the electronics in hearing aids are sensitive, it’s very important to take care of the batteries to make sure your hearing aid is working properly.
When your batteries begin to run down, you may notice the sound from your hearing aid become distorted or unclear. Some hearing aids will also make a beeping sound when the battery gets low, but often hearing aids will die very quickly after the battery gets low. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to carry an extra set of batteries with you. You should also always turn your devices off when you aren’t using them to preserve the batteries.
Caring for hearing aid batteries isn’t difficult, but you do need to take some simple precautions with them. First, never store your hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator, as they can easily be damaged by the cold. You also shouldn’t keep them in your pocket or anywhere they can easily be scratched or exposed to heat or humidity. Finally, never leave dead batteries in your hearing aid. Instead, remove them promptly and replace them with your new batteries as soon as you can.
SCHEDULE A FOLLOW UP
One of the best ways to get more out of your hearing aids is to schedule a follow-up appointment with your audiologist and discuss any questions or issues. This can help you learn more about operating your aids properly and address any problems you’re having.