NEW HEARING AID INFORMATION
Hearing Care Clinic
191, Londonderry Mall
137 Avenue & 66 Street
Edmonton, AB T5C 3C8
Phone: (780) 413-8833 Fax: (780) 406-5360
Setting REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS for your new hearing aid fitting is critical to your success. To begin with, your hearing aids are a foreign device to your body. You will have to adapt to the feeling of hearing aids. Most patients take a week or so for the feeling of the hearing aids not to seem foreign.
With your new aids:
- You should hear many sounds that you don't hear without the hearing aids, e.g. sounds in the house, children's voices, outdoor sounds.
- You will be able to understand speech more clearly than without the hearing aids, there are some exceptions.
- You will notice loud sounds more when wearing hearing aids. In the beginning, they will seem very loud. Over a short time they will become more comfortable, the exception is if people with normal hearing are complaining about loud sounds, so will you.
- Your hearing aids may allow you to understand speech more clearly in some noisy situations depending on the circuit technology you and your clinician have selected.
The more expensive hearing aids have extra/special circuits and microphones that do this better than less expensive hearing instruments.
Following our program of suggested usage will help you get used to your hearing aids. Your hearing with the hearing aids will also improve over the adaptation period. Hearing aids DO NOT restore your hearing, the same as glasses do not restore your eyesight. Some Hearing aid models and circuits can filter out differing degrees of background sound. Some hearing aids do not filter out background sounds. It is important for you to know that certain listening environments present a significant challenge to hearing, even for people with normal hearing. Social gatherings, parties, restaurants, and auditoriums can sometimes be difficult for most people independents of hearing loss. You should also know that each person's hearing loss is different not only in degree, but more critically, in clarity. If your case is one with poor clarity, you must adjust your expectations use your hearing aids, you must also use your eyes and contextual clues, i.e. knowing the subject being discussed, in conjunction with the benefit your hearing aids provide. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS are an important part of your success with your new hearing aids.
- Save yourself some disappointment by knowing that you can go too fast. It takes a period of time to get used to hearing aids for practically everybody.
- Your own voice will sound strange at first. Remember your aids are amplifying your voice as well as others. You will get accustomed to this in about a week. Your voice has not changed, the way you hear has - it is amplified.
- Group conversation will require you to focus on the person in the group you want to hear. The hearing aids are amplifying the others in the group as well. This takes some practice.
- With hearing aids, distance is a factor. Your new hearing aids work best at "conversational distance". This is normally two to ten feet. In a church, theatre, movie, lecture, concert, etc. where you sit can make a difference. If assistive listening devices are available from these types of locations, use them.
- Sounds from artificial sources, which include T.V., radio, PA systems, telephones, etc. can be harder to hear with hearing aids at the outset. They get better as you progress through your adaptation period. You may be a patient who should use Assistive Listening Devices as well as hearing aids. Ask your clinician about this topic and your case.
- If you are a patient who has worn hearing aids before, you also will have an adaptation period for your ears to adapt acoustically to the new hearing aids.
YOUR FIRST FEW DAYS WITH A NEW HEARING AID
Some people may find that the first few days with a new hearing aid may be awkward. If you are having difficulty adapting to hearing aid use, give yourself breaks. Spend some time wearing your hearing aids, and some time without. Giving yourself breaks can make adapting to the hearing aid easier. Gradually try to wear the hearing aid for longer periods of time each day.
PROGRAMMING DIGITAL HEARING AIDS
The norm in today's hearing aid technologies is some level of digital performance. For patients, one of the best aspects of digital hearing aids is that they can be reprogrammed when your hearing loss changes, within limits. For most patients the effects of this is the hearing aids MAY last longer as your hearing changes. The other aspect of digital technology in hearing aids is that today's instruments can be very individualized to each patients hearing needs. In our practice you receive your reprogramming services at no charge. Some patients go two or three years with no need to reprogram, but each patient's case is different.
The wax glands inside your ears will generate wax, which can clog or block the sound from your hearing aids to your ears. You must keep wax out of the opening in your hearing aids where the sound comes out. This is THE MAJOR CAUSE of hearing aids not working.
- Look into the opening in your hearing aid. See if it is clogged.
- Different hearing aids use different tools to clean wax from your hearing aids. The clinician will show you the operation of your type of tool.
- For chronic wax build-up there is a special wax vacuum tool available. Ask your clinician for details.
- Wax that collects in your ear canal can cause feedback. Ask your clinician to examine your ears and advise you.
- Wax is created by the wax glands in the ear canal. Use Eargene to help control the situation and remove any itching caused by ear wax in the ear canal.
CLEANING YOUR HEARING AIDS
Your new hearing aids are in contact with your skin and ear canals. Skin generates oils and salts which are bad for hearing aids if not removed regularly. To remove them, use wipes designed for cleaning hearing aids.
- DO NOT get your hearing aids wet. Moisture can cause permanent damage.
- Condensation can cause a hearing aid to go on and off. If you experience this problem ask your clinician for a possible solution, there are several.
HAIR SPRAY, SHAMPOO, & HAIR DRYERS
Hair spray, shampoo, and hair dryers will damage your hearing aids.
RE-CASING, EARMOLD REPLACEMENT, TUBING, SPECIAL RECEIVERS
- All hearing aids are fitted to your ears. The skin in the ear canal is soft, but the hearing aids are hard. The casing of your hearing aid may need to be changed because of changes to the skin inside the ears.
- If your hearing aids use earmolds, they also may have to be changed for good fit.
- If your hearing aids use earmolds or tube fittings the tubing will deteriorate because of salts and oils produced by the body. Your tubing will need to be periodically replaced in order to keep the hearing aid functioning properly. Some hearing aids also use special "domes", which also need to be replaced periodically.
- There is a new type of hearing aid technology called "receiver-in-the-canal". Part of these instruments are behind-the-ear, and part is in the ear. The receiver component needs to be replaced periodically.
- Whenever your hearing aid stops working, try changing the battery.
- If a battery dies in one hearing aid, you may want to change the batteries of both hearing aids so it is easier to keep track of battery life.
- At night when not using your hearing aids, open the battery door so the batteries do not make contact with the inside of the hearing aid.
- Battery life is determined by how many hours a day you wear your hearing aid, the design of the circuitry, the amount of amplification your hearing aid produces, and the size of the battery.
- It is not recommended to carry loose batteries. Batteries that come into contact with keys, coins, or other metal objects may have a reduced battery life.
- Do not remove the adhesive tab on a battery until you are ready to use the battery.
All hearing aids can make a whistling or beeping type sound. This is called feedback.
- When inserting or removing your hearing aids, you may get feedback. This is OK, and should stop once the aid is properly inserted into the ear. If your model of hearing aid has an ON/OFF switch, you can turn the hearing aid off while inserting and removing the hearing aid to avoid feedback.
- If your hearing aids and/or earmolds are not properly inserted in your ears you may get feedback. Try repositioning your hearing aid and/or earmold.
- On many hearing aids, objects near your ear may create an "acoustic baffle". Things like a hat, hug, pillow, etc. can cause an acoustic baffle. If you are getting feedback, make sure the space near your ears is clear of other objects.
- If your hearing aids use earmolds, the tubing deteriorates over time. Even very tiny cracks can cause feedback. Make sure you have your tubing changed periodically to avoid this.
- If you have worn your hearing aids for several years, the skin of the ear may move away from the hearing aid an cause an acoustic leak which can cause feedback. It may be necessary to re-case your hearing aid, or have a new earmold made.
- Another possible cause of feedback is called internal feedback, and it is caused by faulty or defective hearing aid circuitry. This type of feedback can only be diagnosed by your clinician. Feedback caused by faulty or defective circuitry needs to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair or replacement.
MAINTENANCE, CHECK UPS, AND CLEANING
Current hearing aids are more sophisticated and effective than hearing aids of the past, but like other precision instruments, your hearing aids require regular maintenance. You are advised to visit the clinic every 6 months or so for maintenance, check ups, and cleaning to ensure that your hearing aids are functioning at their best.