Great Expectations – Hearing Aid Success

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When choosing, purchasing, and wearing new hearing aids, it is important to maintain reasonable expectations. Having appropriate expectations will allow for informed judgments to be made, and greater benefit and success with the aids.

Many general practitioners are not likely to be extremely well-versed in hearing healthcare. Therefore, it is important to find a hearing healthcare professional to assess whether or not you need hearing instruments, and to explain your options. An audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will have a greater amount of experience in this area than your family doctor.

It is very important to realize that hearing instruments will not restore hearing to normal. Even the most advanced instruments cannot provide normal hearing. But with appropriate programming, digital hearing technology can ease the listening process and return much hearing that has been lost.

Please know that different types of hearing aids function differently for each person and each hearing loss. An aid that worked for a friend may not be well-suited to your hearing needs. Old hearing instruments passed along to you from a friend are also unlikely to work for you, or may need re-fitting and re-programming. Aids are custom set to an individual's ear and hearing loss. In addition, the smallest aid available may not be appropriate for your type or severity of hearing impairment.

When you are being programmed, you should be able to hear some background noise, but not to the point that it makes it hard to hear conversations. There are no known hearing instruments available that filter out every background noise. Many reduce the amplification of certain kinds of background noise or at least make the level of noise more comfortable during conversation. Directional microphones do allow for better hearing in noise, but are still limited in what they can do.

With amplification, you should be able to hear soft sounds that you cannot hear without aids. You should not experience extreme discomfort from loud sounds coming through your aids. Your listening experience should be vastly improved, making it easier for you to comprehend speech, with less stress.

Hearing instruments should fit comfortably without any pain. If a proper fit has been made, you should not feel any pain, soreness, or uncomfortable pressure. If you do experience any of these issues, make an appointment with your hearing healthcare provider as soon as possible!

Your aids may emit a high-pitched squeal (feedback) if they are turned on when inserting into your ears or if someone leans close to your ear (e.g., as when hugging). If this feedback occurs at any other time, contact your provider – programming or physical adjustments need to be made.

Expect to have a trial period of at least 30 days, with a refund of your money if you are not satisfied. A small amount may be nonrefundable for fitting and restocking fees. You are expected to perceive that the equipment provides you benefit during this time. You should note things like improved comprehension, decreased effort in listening, etc. If you are not perceiving any benefit, return to your provider for adjustments or perhaps even for a trial of a different style of aid. You are legally enabled to do this.

Even though benefit should be expected during that initial 30 day trial period, it is important to note that an adjustment period of time beyond that may be necessary to allow acclimatization of your nervous system. Time is the healer of all wounds and the perceiver of all benefit. Maximum hearing aid benefit is typically determined after a period of adjustment up to 4 months.

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