Together, you and your audiologist will determine the appropriate hearing aids for you based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
At the time of your fitting appointment, you should expect:
1. A good and comfortable fit
The hearing aids should feel as if you have next to nothing in your ears. There should be no sensation of pressure or discomfort of any kind.
2. An initial orientation session
in which you will learn how to handle, clean and care for your new hearing aids, and how to operate and insert them.
3. Your audiologist to assess your ability to understand in different listening environments
Your instruments will be fine tuned in a variety of adverse listening situations (for example, restaurant and traffic noise) to ensure optimum performance.
4. Your voice to sound different to you
Just as you have not heard the sounds of the world, you have not heard the real quality of your own voice. For example, you initially will sound louder to yourself, but this perception will soon become the norm and disappear.
5. A period of adjustment
If you are new to hearing aids, you will likely need a couple of weeks to adapt to them. You will hear sounds you have not heard for a long time and have difficulty recognizing them. Try to be patient and use your new hearing aids consistently as you go though this period of adjustment.
6. To be able to hear well in quiet listening situations and most small group settings
Your new instruments will allow you to hear well in quiet listening situations. However, the largest problem you will encounter will be when noise levels are louder than the speech you are attempting to hear. Even if you are wearing the most sophisticated hearing aids, you can expect to have the same problems that normal listeners have in noisy surroundings; that is, the louder the noise, the more difficult it is to understand speech.
7. Follow-up appointments
After you are fitted with your hearing aids, you likely will have difficulty hearing in some situations. Based on your reports during the follow-up visits, your audiologist will reprogram the hearing instruments to enhance their performance in those troublesome environments.
8. Servicing and Repairs
In order to ensure maximum performance, your hearing instruments must be serviced regularly. Periodic maintenance will prevent breakdowns before they occur. Nevertheless, your instruments might need to be repaired at some future time. Today’s products are more reliable and, on average, need only one repair in a five-year period.
9. To buy batteries and to change them on a regular basis
Your hearing aids will give you an audible signal to let you know when to change the batteries.
10. To purchase new hearing aids every five years
Hearing aid technology changes rapidly, just like computer technology. The advances are considerable and will certainly provide great benefits to you. Keeping the same hearing aid technology for longer than five years is akin to keeping the same TV set for thirty years.
Why do I need two hearing aids?
The hearing in my left ear isn't so bad, why do I need two hearing aids?
A frequent question patients ask me is, “Why must I wear two hearing aids?” Here’s the reasoning. Your brain is designed to work with two ears. You are able to locate sounds based on the time differential between the sounds that reach each ear. When sounds arrive at the ears simultaneously, you perceive that they are in front of you. If they reach the left ear before the right ear, you identify them as being to your left. Thus, an individual who hears out of one ear only has no directional hearing ability and cannot localize sound.
Your directional hearing ability allows you to home in on sounds and determine how far away those sounds are. By pinpointing the position of the sound, the auditory center of the brain can use its ability to suppress noise to further improve your understanding ability. If you hear only through one ear, the differences in speech and background noise are not processed, and you are unable to understand conversation.
In order to take full advantage of the sophisticated directional microphones and noise suppression circuitry available in today’s digital instruments, you must wear two hearing aids.
Other problems when wearing only one hearing aid include:
- Inability to hear people on the non-aided side in quiet listening situations
- Hearing music and television monaurally, rather than in stereo
- Potentially being less steady on your feet due to unequal stimulation of the balance system of the inner ear
If you have a hearing loss in both ears and wear only one instrument, why not experience the difference two hearing aids will make for you? You’ll wonder why you ever lived with just one.