Simply put, hearing aids are devices that amplify sound to help improve hearing. While no device can restore hearing, hearing aids work very well when fitted and adjusted appropriately.
Hearing aids come in various sizes and shapes, ranging from tiny instruments that fit deep into the ear canal to amplifiers that are worn completely in the bowl of the ear and those that are worn over the ear or behind the ear.
Obtaining hearing aids usually requires at least two office visits. At the first visit, which may be combined with an audiological evaluation, you will consult with your audiologist about which style of hearing aid is appropriate for your needs, taking into consideration cost and technology levels. At this time, depending on the style of the hearing aid, the audiologist may make an impression of your ears, using a silicone material that captures the exact formation of your ear. This form is sent to the hearing aid manufacturer and an instrument is custom made from it that will fit your ear exactly.
When the hearing aids are ready for you, your audiologist will have you make an appointment for a hearing aid fitting. At the hearing aid fitting, your hearing aids will be placed on your ears and the audiologist will program them using a computer to set the functions and loudness of the hearing aids correctly for your hearing loss.
At this fitting appointment, you will also be shown how to insert and remove the hearing aids from your ears, how to change the battery on the instrument, how to care for the hearing aids and keep them clean, and how to use any accessories which might come with the hearing aids, such as “Bluetooth” or other advanced technologies.
The left and right hearing aids will probably not fit exactly the same and probably won’t sound exactly the same.
- You will be aware of hearing aids in your ears
- Until you get used to them, your voice will sound “funny” when you are wearing hearing aids
- Hearing aids should not be worn in extremely noisy environments
- Hearing aids usually cannot completely eliminate background noise
- Speak with your hearing healthcare professional about options that significantly reduce background noise, such as directional microphones and FM systems. FM systems and other assistive devices can be very helpful.
- Some people need a day or two to learn about and adjust to their hearing aids, most people need a few weeks and some may need a few months
- There is no perfect way to learn about hearing aids
- Wear your new hearing aids for a few hours the first day and add about an hour a day for each following day
- Eventually you will wear the hearing aids most of your waking hours
- It is suggested that you interact with people most familiar to you during your first few days
- Start off wearing your hearing aids in a favorable listening environment (such as one-on-one conversations in quiet) and work towards more difficult listening situations
- Let your friends and family know you’re using your new hearing aids
- You should not wear hearing aids in noise until you are very accustomed to them
- If you have two ears with hearing loss, and if both can benefit from hearing aids, you need two hearing aids
- Binaural hearing (using both ears) provides localization, which is knowing where sound is coming from, and is not possible with one ear
- Binaural hearing allows a more “spacious” quality to sounds
- Hearing with two ears helps in understanding speech