The Truth about Hearing Aids
Hearing aids work very well when they are fit and adjusted appropriately. You should never experience pain or physical irritation from wearing a hearing aid. If you do, it is important to contact your audiologist immediately to have it adjusted or remade.
It is important to have realistic expectations. Hearing aids do not repair the ear! They provide the wearer with additional information to help that person to hear and understand better. They do not provide “perfect” hearing.
It takes time to adjust to wearing hearing aids. Many people adjust to wearing the hearing aids immediately, some take longer. There are some who require several months to make the adjustment. In general, the greater the hearing loss, the longer the hearing loss has been present, and the older the person is when they first begin using hearing systems, the longer the transition period. It is important to be patient and work closely with your audiologist during the transition period.
Virtually everyone, whether they wear hearing aids or not, will complain about background noise at one time or another. A hearing aid does not eliminate background noise. They do have very sophisticated noise processing circuitry. The goal of this circuitry is to emphasize speech and minimize the negative effects the noise has on speech understanding. A better description of how hearing aids work is that they “pull speech through the noise”. The higher the technology level of hearing aid, the more sophisticated the sound processing circuitry, which means the sound quality will be more natural and you will hear better in general, but especially in the presence of background noise. Our Doctors of Audiology with work with you personally to determine the most appropriate level of technology and hearing aid features for your individual needs.
The Digital Revolution
The digital revolution has made a huge impact on the way hearing aids look and function. They can be so small that they are completely invisible, or so sleek that you will want everyone to see them.
Most hearing aids available today are digital hearing aids. In fact, it is very hard to find analog technology. Digital technology allows hearing aids to function better in background noise, especially when the “noise” is people talking. The quality of the sound produced by the computer chip is excellent. In addition, digital hearing aids are flexible and can be re-programmed as hearing loss changes or as your needs change.
Most manufacturers now make hearing aid accessories that allow the aids to be paired to your cell phone, television, computer or MP3 player. These devices allow sound to be streamed directly to the hearing aids allowing you to hear the telephone through both ears at the same time (a really big help for many people) and to eliminate the negative effects of room noise and reverberation as well as distance from the speaker. In most cases the sound quality can be adjusted to meet your individual needs.
Ensuring Hearing Aid Satisfaction
The first step to ensuring hearing aid satisfaction is to first recognize that your hearing loss is affecting your life and those around you. Having a positive attitude is critical when deciding to move forward. Moving forward is an investment in your health and well-being both physically and mentally.
It is important to sit down with your audiologist and be completely open about the situations where communication is difficult for you. If your audiologist understands your communication needs, they can better address your difficulties and find a solution that will best work for you. They will customize a system that best manages your challenging listening situations and will address communication habits that may hinder your success. Remember, your care is personal. What is right for your friend or neighbor may not be what is best for you.
It is important to be patient. Your hearing loss most likely developed gradually over time. It takes practice and time for your brain to adjust and become re-acquainted with sound. Do not become disillusioned or frustrated during this transition period.
Be patient with yourself and your new hearing aids. Your audiologist is your advocate. Continue to ask questions to maximize the use of your hearing aids.
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