If you are about to be fit with your first set of hearing aids, you may have questions regarding what to expect from your new aids and how to properly care for them. Let's take a look at a few tips for care and maintenance to get the most out of your hearing investment.
What to Expect After Receiving Hearing Aids
When you are first fit with your hearing aids, your brain needs time to play catch up and get used to processing the new sounds you are hearing. During the first 48 hours with your new aids (and sometimes throughout the first couple weeks) you may find the overall volume to seem too loud. Certain sounds may be perceived as unnatural, especially how you hear your own voice. Do your best to be patient with your adjustments, and try to keep in mind that the sound quality of your aids will increasingly improve as you acclimate over time.
How to Wear and Take Care of a Hearing Aid
It is important that you try to wear your new hearing aids consistently in order to adjust to hearing sounds at normal levels again. Form a health habit by setting a goal to put them in each morning and wait to take them out in the evening. Each time you put on your aids, practice properly inserting the aids to ensure they are securely positioned in each ear.
Hearing aids are powered by batteries which may be disposable or rechargeable. To ensure you get the maximum life out of your disposable batteries, turn your aids off at night by opening the battery doors. Disposable batteries may need to be replaced as often as once a week; however battery drainage is dependent on the size of the battery and hours of usage. If you use a rechargeable battery option, place your hearing aids into you charging accessory each night so that the batteries can recharge while you are sleeping.
Adjusting the Sound of Your Hearing Aid
Like smell and taste, hearing is one of our senses that can be very subjective. Due to differences in personal hearing preferences, individuals with the similar hearing loss may have very different responses to the exact same hearing aid. Initial hearing aid settings are often based on your most recent hearing test results. When you come in for your follow-up appointments, your hearing aid programming can begin to be adjusted to your individual listening preferences.
Your audiologist’s goal is to provide you with a comfortable hearing aid fit and sound quality. Adjustments can also be made to tailor your aids to your personal hearing needs. It is recommended that you keep a log of how you are hearing with your news aids throughout the first two weeks of use. This will help your audiologist appropriately adjust your aids at your first follow-up visit.
Cleaning Your Hearing Aid
Staying on top of cleaning your hearing aids is much easier than trying to clean built-up debris. Each night when removing your hearing aids, use a soft microfiber cloth to remove wax and debris. Most aids include a wax filter system which protects the output speaker of the hearing aids. This filter can easily be replaced as directed by your audiologist if it becomes plugged with wax.
While modern hearing aid technology is often water resistant, few hearing aids are waterproof. Always use a dry cloth to clean your aids and remove your hearing aids before showering, bathing, and swimming to avoid submersion.
Proactive Hearing Aid Maintenance
One of the most important steps to taking a proactive approach to hearing aid maintenance is to follow up with your audiologist for regular office visits. Hearing aid checks are usually recommended once every six months, or more frequently depending on individual patient needs. A repeat hearing test is recommended annually in order to monitor your hearing loss. Your hearing aids can be reprogrammed if a change in your hearing is detected.
You can also have your hearing aids adjusted if your hearing needs or listening preferences change over time. These types of adjustments are often included with your hearing aid warranty. Repair warranties, loss/damage warranties and service warranties can vary per manufacturer or hearing aid technology level. A hearing aid is replaced on average every four to six years, but that time can be maximized with good care and maintenance.