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Choosing a Hearing Aid

by Robert S. Dinsmoor

After adjusting to using the hearing aid in quiet settings, such as at home, try it out in noisy places such as crowded restaurants and airports. Try adjusting the volume and any other settings on the hearing aid to see whether some settings work better than others. Make a note of where the hearing aid works best and where it doesn’t work as well. Then find out whether your audiologist or hearing aid specialist can adjust the hearing aid’s program accordingly. Also ask friends and family members whether they notice any difference in your ability to communicate.

Be prepared for certain problems and obstacles, including the following:

  • Some people find their hearing aids uncomfortable at first. Ask your audiologist how many hours a day you should wear your hearing aid. (Your hearing aid should not be worn when you sleep.)
  • The sound of your own voice may sound loud, electronic, or plugged up to you. Most people eventually get used to this effect.
  • Sometimes there is a whistling feedback sound, especially if the hearing aid doesn’t fit well or is clogged with earwax. Talk with your audiologist about adjustments that might correct this.
  • Some people hear a buzzing sound while using their cell phone. Fortunately, both hearing aid and cell phone technologies are improving, so this problem tends to occur less frequently.

It helps to have realistic expectations. Some people expect to hear perfectly when they get their hearing aid, but there likely will still be situations where you won’t hear as well as someone without hearing loss.

Hearing aid care
Proper care and maintenance of your hearing aid will help to keep it working well. Be sure to keep the hearing aid away from heat and moisture. Take it out before showering or swimming. Since earwax can damage a hearing aid, be sure to clean your hearing aid as instructed. Avoid using hairspray or other hair products while wearing the hearing aid. Do not expose it to physical shock, such as dropping it on the floor. When you’re not using the hearing aid, be sure to turn it off and/or remove the battery as instructed by the manufacturer. Replace dead batteries immediately, and keep the batteries away from children and pets, who might swallow them. (If you know or suspect that a child or pet has swallowed a battery of any kind, seek medical help immediately.)

All ears
If you think you might have hearing loss, look into having your hearing checked. In many cases of hearing loss, a hearing aid can help to improve not only the quality of your hearing, but also the quality of your life.

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