Advice For Those Requiring Hearing Aids
Once the you have found the type of hearing aid recommended by the audiologist and have checked around for the best price, you will have to decide exactly which type and model you wish to purchase. Hearing aids are expensive, so it is important you get the right one.
Most hearing aid dispensers allow a 30 day trial period and those in the market for a hearing aid would be wise to make use of this service. Payment plans may also be available so do not hesitate to discuss your payment options with the dispenser.
Getting used to your new Hearing Aid
Hearing aids amplify sounds that you want to hear, along with background noise. This means that you will have to adjust to hearing sounds that you probably have not heard for a long time, such as:
- a clock ticking
- the motor of a refrigerator
- sounds of radiators and lighting systems
- sounds of nature such as birds singing
While some people have absolutely no difficulty in wearing hearing aids all the time there are others who take a long time to adjust. Give yourself time to adjust to your hearing aid and follow these instructions:
- Try wearing the hearing aid for about 30 minutes several times a day.
- You may find that your ear has a feeling of fullness or tightness when the ear mold is placed in your ear. Try to get used to this feeling. It should disappear after you wear your aid for awhile. If not, consult your hearing aid dispenser. It is quite possible that the mold may need adjustment.
- If there is any pain associated with the discomfort, consult your dispenser as soon as possible.
- Try wearing your new aid in quiet surroundings. Wear it while you are at home, reading a book or in conversation with one other person.
- Eliminate as much background noise as possible.
- Adjust the volume on the hearing aid to a comfortable level.
- Listen to your voice. It will probably sound louder and different than it did before.
- Learn to recognize sounds that you have not heard for a long time.
- Gradually expose yourself to noisier surroundings – the dinner table or a group conversation.
- Use your eyes as well as your ears. Watch for facial expressions, lip and body movements. This will aid you in understanding conversations.
- Be patient! It takes time to get used to anything new. However, if a problem persists, do not hesitate to return to your hearing aid dispenser. It may simply need a minor adjustment.
There are a number of possible reasons for a hearing aid to experience feedback or whistling. Usually, feedback occurs because the sound is leaking out of the ear back into the microphone around a loose fitting earmold. Check that the earmold is in the ear correctly. Also check that the earmold fits fairly tightly in the ear otherwise a new earmold may be warranted.
The Ear Mold
When you visit a hearing aid dispenser, you will have to get an ear mold impression. Your dispenser will insert a soft substance into your outer ear and ear canal to obtain an impression of the size and shape of your ear. This is then sent to a laboratory where an ear mold will be made to fit your ear properly.
Materials used to make ear molds are either soft (vinyl rubber) or hard (acrylic plastic). There are also special hypo-allergenic materials available for those with skin allergies. When you first insert the ear mold, there will be a feeling of FULLNESS in your ear. This is normal as the mold is designed to fit snugly. If not, you will experience feedback, or a whistling sound.
If you have problems inserting the ear mold try using a little petroleum jelly or talcum powder, taking care not to get it into the tubing. Don’t forget, if there is any pain consult your hearing aid dispenser.
Looking After Your Hearing Aid
A hearing aid is delicate. Gentle handling, a few simple precautions and proper maintenance will help ensure good service. Remember these simple rules of good hearing aid care:
- switch it off before you take it off
- remove the battery when the aid is not in use
- keep it in a dry but not hot place
- never get it wet and never drop it
- remove it when using hairsprays
- keep it away from x-rays
- keep out of reach of children and pets
- use only the ones which match your aid
- match the + on the battery to the + on the aid
- buy fresh batteries from a reliable source
- discard old batteries, do not throw into a open fire
- keep spare batteries in a dry place away from metal
- keep away from children, swallowed batteries may be harmful
- Wash with mild detergent but always remove it from the aid or receiver first
- let the mold dry completely before replacing it on the hearing aid
- keep the opening free of wax
- have stiff or cracked tubing replaced promptly
- Do not drop
- Do not wash