Hearing Loss – Taking Care Of Your Hearing Aid

Your hearing aid will soon become your best friend. Remember when you first got glasses, how awkward they felt on your face? Your hearing aid will seem to bother your ears at first, but if it has been properly fitted, it should “break in” nicely. Patience and practice will make your hearing aid an indispensable ally. Every hearing aid that I have purchased over the years has had a “learning curve” where I had to re-learn what those sounds were that I was hearing with my new hearing aids. It can be a stressful time, so go slow, but go steady. Before you know it, you’ll find it hard to not wear your hearing aids and wonder how you managed before getting them.

When you get used to wearing your hearing aid, you’ll begin to realize just how much you were missing. It’s like they say “you don’t know what you’re missing.” Of course, it’s true. How could you know what you are missing? You’re missing it! Family and friends can tell that you are missing a lot and they will be very helpful when you are learning to hear with your new hearing aid. They will be your most valuable resource in your training!

Hearing aids are helpful when the speaker and listener are relatively close together and the environment is quiet. Background noise will be picked up by the hearing aid and amplified for you. Hearing aids do not differentiate between the different sounds you do want to hear and the sounds that you don’t want to hear. You have to train yourself to block out those sounds and concentrate your attention to the sounds that you do want to hear. Talk with your audiologist or hearing aid provider, they may be able to filter out some of those sounds that are uncomfortably loud for you and provide amplification in the range of sounds that you do want to hear.

All hearing aid manufacturers provide a warranty with the purchase of a hearing aid, and most of the companies provide a one-time loss/damage replacement (for any reason), usually for one year or for the length of the repair warranty. Be sure to talk to your audiologist/hearing aid provider to learn about warranty information.

Check with your insurance company providing your home/household insurance. Ask about a “rider” for the hearing aids which provides a lower deductible
on that item for a small fee. If you have employer’s health insurance, check with them to see if they cover loss, repairs and purchasing of accessories. As with any major purchase, ask around with your trusted advisors to get good information.

Learn how to replace the battery on your hearing aid. Make note of how long batteries last and keep a stash of batteries in places where you will often be. I have batteries in the glove compartment in our vehicle, batteries in a jacket pocket that I wear when we go walking and of course, in my purse. That way, wherever I am, if my battery runs out, I can easily replace it and carry on with my day.

Keep your batteries in a dry place and at room temperature. Leave the new batteries in the carton. The zinc batteries are usually covered with a plastic seal which is removed before inserting it into the hearing aid. I keep my batteries in the same places so that when I need them I know where they are.

At night, when I remove my hearing aids, I leave the battery compartment wide open to allow any moisture that may be inside the battery compartment to dissipate. In the morning, I close the battery compartment and then insert the earmold inside my ear, adjust the volume of the hearing aid and, Voila, I am ready for my day!

If you hear whistling from your hearing aid, that means that it is getting feedback. The feedback can be caused by having the volume too loud or the fit of your earmold is too loose. It can even mean that there is fluid or wax in the ear. Talk with your audiologist or hearing aid provider and he/she can make adjustments.

Every once in a while, there will be whistling and upon close scrutiny, you will see that the tubing coming from the earmold and the hearing aid has a crack or is broken. Go and see your audiologist or hearing aid provider. They can usually repair this without you having to make an appointment. Tubing needs to be checked often. Tubing sometimes will turn yellow, become brittle and shrink with age. Tubing changes are inexpensive and are quickly accomplished.

My hearing aids whistle whenever they get covered so I don’t sleep with them in. The ear molds hurt my ears after a while. I don’t lie on pillows because I get the feedback. As winter is my favourite season, I have to turn down the volume on my hearing aids whenever I put on a toque on my head because we are taking the dog out for a walk. By turning down the volume, my hearing aids don’t whistle so I have to rely a little more on speechreading. Our dog doesn’t mind as she is happy that we are taking her out and sometimes we can’t tell who is having more fun, me or the dog!

Getting used to wear an earmold might be a challenge for you. I often tell people that it’s like buying a new pair of shoes. They may feel tight when you first wear them but after a while they become quite comfortable. If you are still experiencing soreness with your earmold, talk to your audiologist and “a little trimming might be in order” to make it comfortable for you.

Cleaning earmolds can be done at home. Ear wax can sometime block the sound from getting up the tubing to the hearing aid. Wax plugs in the earmold may be removed by using a small wire or needle. Do not use toothpicks as they may break off inside the earmold. Thorough cleaning requires removal of earmold from the hearing aid. Wash the earmold with mild soap and warm water. I have worn hearing aids for 40+ years and I have never had to clean out my earmold but this is just my experience. Everyone is different and have different wax buildup problems.

When you take your hearing aids out for the day, put them away in a drawer where they won’t get dropped or chewed by a cute little puppy! When I was a kid, we had a little Scottish Terrier pup and he was curious about my hearing aid (on my night table) and thought it would be a fun thing to chew on!! Needless to say when I woke up, I was mortified and had to stay home from school. I went to my audiologist
who had a good laugh and gave me a loaner to use while he sent mine to the manufacturer for repair. To this day, I keep my hearing aids in a drawer where they are “out of harm’s way”.

Practice listening with various volume settings on your hearing aid. When it is too loud, sounds will be distorted and uncomfortable for you. You won’t be able to understand what you are hearing as it is so loud. Talk with someone whose voice you are familiar with. Practice by adjusting the volume controls when you are in a one-to-one conversation. It is important that you be comfortable with controlling the volume on your hearing aid. Move around your home and learn how familiar things sound now with your hearing aid. If you have a dog, is her bark going to be too loud for you to comfortably hear or is it going to send you “over the edge?” Can you hear the water running from a faucet in the kitchen? What does it sound like with your hearing aid? Can you tolerate it? Then move into more challenging aspects of your life. What does it sound like in your vehicle? Are you able to have a conversation while driving? Can you hear your passenger(s) while you are busy driving? Now go outside for a walk in a park. What sounds are you able to hear? Does the wind bother you? Keep adjusting your volume until you build up a tolerance for the sounds which seem loud to you initially. Once you have become very comfortable with your new hearing aid, then go shopping at the mall. Go to your favourite restaurant. Go to the bank and the doctor’s office. Go into as many places in your life as you can and really “test” yourself with the new hearing aid. Go back and give feedback to your audiologist or hearing aid provider. They may be able to help you with your areas of difficulty by making some adjustments on your hearing aid. Patience and persistence is the game for success with your near hearing aid! Don’t give up! It will be worth it at the end!

By: shinyumi

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For more info, you can visit this page on www.hearingaid2k.com

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