The Four Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Getting Hearing Aids

The Four Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Getting Hearing Aids

I have been helping patients find the best solutions for their hearing problems for more than 30 years. During this time, I have met with thousands of patients, some who love their hearing aids and get great results, and some who hate their hearing aids and feel like they have wasted their money. Here are the four biggest mistakes I have seen people make.

#1: Choosing a hearing aid based on what it looks like instead of what you need it to do.
The truth is no one wants a hearing aid. What you want is for your communication problems to go away or be significantly reduced. Smart consumers start with a list of three to five big issues they want resolved, and they ask the hearing aid provider which hearing aid will give them the best results.

#2: Focusing on price instead of results.
It’s not what the hearing aid looks like on the outside that dictates how much it will help you; it’s what’s inside that counts. With digital technology, some hearing aids are amazingly smart: They have multiple programs built into the hearing aids to keep you hearing well no matter where you go or what you do, and they will automatically switch from program to program, adjusting the volume for you. A different hearing aid that looks exactly the same on the outside can be amazingly stupid — a simple amplifier that makes everything louder.

In addition to the cost of the device itself, there are professional fees and expertise included in the price. This is the knowledge and expertise of the person fitting the hearing aid. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. The better the technology and the more knowledgeable and capable the fitter, the more it is going to cost — but the better your results should be. Not everyone needs the fanciest technology, but, to be honest, everyone can benefit by having a knowledgeable and experienced person doing the fitting.

#3: Thinking that the hearing aid will solve all your problems the minute you put it on.
Your hearing loss did not happen overnight. Most likely, it has gradually been making your world quieter and quieter for 10+ years. Plus, your ears need to work with your brain to let you hear and understand what is being said.

Think of the hearing aids like a prosthetic hand. You need to practice with that artificial hand to learn how to use it. The more you practice, the better you get. At first you may just be able to open and close the hand. With practice you learn how to pick things up and really use it to improve your life. The same is true with the hearing aids. At first it seems like you are just hearing everything and it seems really loud. Over time you learn to listen discriminatingly and easily. Those who use their hearing aids on a regular basis become successful users; those who put them on only occasionally never really get the help they need.

#4: Being fit with hearing aids and never having a postfitting evaluation done.
A fitter asking you how you are hearing is meaningless. You do not know what you should be hearing and, therefore, you don’t know if the hearing aids are working correctly for you or not.

After you have had a few weeks to adjust to your hearing aids, you should have a postfitting evaluation. This could be a test in which you repeat words at a normal conversational level in a controlled environment (like a hearing test booth) or a test where a microphone is put in your ear and a computer checks to see if the prescription is correct. No matter how experienced your provider is, they cannot see how well you are hearing or truly know what is happening inside your ear without doing one of these postfitting tests.

Simple Tips for Communicating Through Hearing Loss

Simple Tips for Communicating Through Hearing Loss

Hearing loss doesn’t have to ruin relationships. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep those crucial lines of communication open.

Often the greatest toll hearing loss takes is on the relationships we share with our loved ones. When one is unable to hear, their ability to communicate in our highly verbal society is frequently impaired. They may miss crucial contextual cues in conversations and feel left out, or they might not realize their spouse is trying to get their attention. These seem like minor problems, but over time they gradually build into a wedge of frustration that can drive people apart. This often saddles those suffering from hearing loss with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of thoughtfulness and care — and the following helpful tips for those suffering from hearing loss and those they are talking to — those damaged lines of communication can be salvaged.

For people with hearing loss:

  • Pay careful attention to the speaker’s face. Visual cues are a major component of hearing comprehension.
  • Attempt to reduce background noise. The fewer distractions your brain has to sort through, the better you’ll understand the conversation.
  • Make sure you’re facing the speaker directly. Your ears are especially good at picking up sounds directly in front of your face.
  • If you use hearing devices, wear them consistently. If you worry that wearing a hearing device might make you look old, just imagine how old you’ll seem constantly asking people to repeat themselves.
  • Paraphrase and repeat information back to the speaker to cement it in your mind.
  • Be patient. Frustration is natural, but with effort and focus, your hearing loss does not have to doom your social life.

For friends, family, and loves ones:

  • Face the person you’re speaking to.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, but do not exaggerate your speech and do not shout.
  • Try not to block your mouth with objects or your hands, as visual cues are crucial to comprehension.
  • Reduce background noise as much as possible.
  • Make sure you have the other person’s attention before you start speaking. Tap their shoulder or call their name — something to make them face you before you begin.
  • Be prepared to repeat information as necessary.
  • Be patient. Frustration is natural, but your compassionate efforts to communicate make a world of difference.

If you or someone you love are affected by hearing loss and would like to learn more about the best ways to communicate through the fog, call us today!