CREATING A HIGHER STANDARD Nov 17

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

Adapting to Hearing Aids

Adapting to your hearing aids may take some time. Be patient with yourself and the hearing aids. The adjustment time may also vary from patient to patient. If you’re having difficulty, don't give up. Contact our office for assistance.

Using Hearing Aids

Within the hearing aid, a microphone acts as a substitute ear to "hear" sounds which the impaired ear may no longer be able to hear. After sophisticated filtering and electronic processing, the sounds are amplified, transmitted through a speaker and directed into the ear canal.

Begin Slowly

Start by wearing your hearing aids for four to six hours at a time. If you begin to feel fatigued from listening to amplified sounds, remove the hearing aids and resume at a later time. If the hearing aids cause any pain or discomfort, leave them out of your ears and contact our office immediately.

Filter Out the Noise

Amplified sounds may seem unnatural at first, particularly if you're not accustomed to hearing them. Certain features of hearing aids are able to reduce the problems this causes, but hearing in a noisy background may still be difficult at times for many hearing aid users. You must re-learn to separate the sounds and filter out the noise all over again.

Common Experiences:

"All Sounds Seem Too Loud"

You are re-entering a world of sounds you may not have heard for a long time. Expect things to seem loud at first. As your ears become acclimated to the amplified sounds, the noise level will appear more natural.

"I Hear Speech, but Can’t Always Understand It"

Hearing aids can help improve speech understanding but cannot always restore that ability to normal levels. In some situations, especially when there are background noises, you may have difficulty understanding parts of what people say. Even people with normal hearing cannot always hear everything being said. Try to use your vision to supplement your hearing (speech reading) and place yourself in an optimal listening position to help with your communication.

"My Voice Sounds Different to Me"

Your voice is now being heard through an electronic instrument which is not the same as hearing it naturally. Most hearing aid users adjust to this difference in a matter of weeks. Give yourself time to adjust to the new sound.

"My Hearing Aids are Noisy When I’m Outside"

When wind hits the microphone of the hearing aid, it can cause excessive noise. A wind screen placed over the microphone may help reduce the noise. Also, certain hearing aid styles, such as the completely-in-the-canal (CIC) or invisible-in-canal (IIC), offer reduced wind noise for persons with active outdoor lifestyles.

"My Ears Feel Plugged Up When Wearing Hearing Aids"

This feeling may gradually lessen as you adjust to wearing your hearing aids. If not, contact our office for possible modifications to your hearing aids.

"Restaurants Seem Too Noisy"

In restaurants, request a booth instead of a table. Try to sit with your back to the wall so there is less noise behind you. Certain noise reduction circuits or directional microphone options may be necessary if this continues to be difficult.

Hearing aid users encounter some common experiences. Contact our office if you have difficulty with any of these situations or simply make an appointment for a follow-up visit.

Improving Communication

Communication is extremely important to all relationships but a hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person's desire to interact. Frustration and embarrassment from the inability to communicate may lead to withdrawal from social situations along with feelings of isolation. The following strategies will make communication easier.

Strategies for Friends & Family

  1. Get the person's attention before talking.
  2. Be patient with hard-of-hearing persons.
  3. Repeat information once then rephrase the message to clarify.
  4. Speak clearly and slowly.
  5. Don't shout or speak too loudly.
  6. Provide them with the topic and identify topic changes as needed.
  7. Look directly at the person when you speak. Avoid speaking from another room or with your back turned to them.
  8. Keep a sense of humor about communication errors.
  9. Encourage the person to use other assistive listening devices.
  10. Modify light and seating arrangements if necessary to provide the person with an unobstructed view.
  11. Eliminate or reduce background noises. Turn off the television or stereo, move away from fans and air conditioners, or seek a quieter room.
  12. Make sure only one person talks at a time.
  13. Seek additional communication and coping strategies from an audiologist at our office.


Strategies for the Person with the Hearing Loss

  1. Pay close attention to the face and gestures.
  2. Be patient with yourself.
  3. Rephrase what you heard to verify information.
  4. Ask for repetition only once then ask the speaker to rephrase.
  5. Think of new ways to ask for repetition (other than "Huh?").
  6. Ask for the topic and then verify the topic.
  7. Inform speakers about your hearing loss and how they should speak to you.
  8. Ask others to look directly at you when they speak, to come closer if necessary, and to speak slowly and slightly louder.
  9. Keep a sense of humor about communication errors.
  10. Use your hearing aids and other assistive listening devices at theaters and places of worship.
  11. Modify light and seating arrangements if necessary to obtain an unobstructed view.
  12. Eliminate or reduce background noises. Turn off the television or stereo, move away from fans and air conditioners, or seek a quieter room.
  13. Make sure only one person talks at a time.
  14. Be understanding and caring when someone forgets you have a hearing problem. Seek additional communication and coping strategies from an audiologist at our office.


Hearing Aid Care

  1. Always insert and remove your hearing aids over a soft surface.
  2. Do not expose your hearing aids to excessive or direct heat.
  3. Do not expose your hearing aids to excessive moisture.
  4. Remove your hearing aids for CAT, MRI scans or other electromagnetic procedures.
  5. Remove the batteries if you store your hearing aids for any extended length of time. Never use any tools—other than the cleaning tools provided by our office—to clean your hearing aids.


Battery Information

A good battery is vital for a hearing aid to function properly. The following information will help you obtain optimal battery life and avoid potential problems.

  1. The tab should be removed from the battery 30 seconds before installing it into the hearing aid.
  2. Battery life depends on: the size of the battery, the drain produced by the hearing aid circuitry, hours of use per day, and listening conditions. If the battery is not lasting as long as expected, track battery life by placing removed battery tabs on your calendar. This will help you determine the average battery life.
  3. Contact your audiologist for the expected battery life of your instruments.
  4. Store batteries in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate. Leave the tab in place until you are ready to install the battery.
  5. Remove batteries before placing hearing aids into any kind of drying kit.
  6. When the hearing aids are not in use, swing open the battery door. This will ensure the best battery life.
  7. Batteries may be purchased at our office or through our mail order program.

Keep batteries away from children, pets and medications. If a battery is accidentally swallowed, seek medical attention immediately or call the Battery Ingestion Hotline 202-625-3333.


Troubleshooting

Some common problems and possible causes for a hearing aid not working properly are listed below, along with some tips which might be helpful in determining the solution. If you need help correcting a problem or if you have any questions, please contact our office for assistance.

Feedback (squeal or whistling)

  1. Volume adjustment of the hearing aid may be too high.
  2. The ear mold or hearing aid may not be properly seated into the ear. Remove the ear mold or hearing aid and re-insert it into the ear.
  3. Excessive wax may be in your ear canal, causing the sound to reflect back and be re-amplified. Check with your audiologist to determine if this is the case.
  4. The ear mold or hearing aid may not fit properly. If excessive growth or weight changes have occurred, contact our office to see if a new ear mold or hearing aid is necessary.
  5. Placing a hat or hand over the microphone of the hearing aid may cause feedback.


Intermittent Sound

  1. Moisture may have accumulated in the hearing aid.
  2. The internal components or a switch may be damaged.
  3. The battery contacts may be corroded. Contact our office for assistance.


No Sound

  1. The battery may be weak or dead.
  2. The battery contacts may be corroded.
  3. The canal opening of the ear mold or hearing aid may be blocked with wax or debris. Clean the opening with a soft brush and/or wire loop (provided with your hearing aids). Daily cleaning may help reduce recurrence of this problem.


Other Problems

Check the ear mold, tubing or speaker tubing to be sure they are not plugged with wax or moisture. If you are troubled with excessive earwax, contact our office for assistance.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will Hearing Aids help nerve loss?
Yes. The majority of people wearing hearing aids today have a nerve-type loss.

What are some of the potential results of a hearing problem?
Fatigue, inattentiveness, indifference, social withdrawal, insecurity, speech deterioration, loneliness, isolation, and depression.

What are the symptoms of a hearing problem?
The need for increased volume on T.V., difficulty understanding speech where background noise is present, suggesting that speakers mumble or don't speak loud enough, reading speaker's lips, and sometimes a ringing noise in the ears (Tinnitus).

Are there Hearing Aids that can help me understand speech in noisy situations?
Yes. Most hearing aids can help to some degree in noisy environments. Some of the newest digital circuits potentially can help the most due to the fact that they can amplify soft sounds while not amplifying louder ones.

Are there any Hearing Aids that you can't see?
Some of the CIC (Completely-in-the-Canal) instruments sit deep within the ear canal and are virtually unnoticeable while the IIC (Invisible-in-Canal) is completely hidden.

Should I buy two Hearing Aids or one?
Everyone's needs are different, but most people who have hearing loss in both ears will benefit from having amplification in both ears. Some of the benefits may include: better understanding of speech in noise, equal hearing from both sides, better sound localization, and more natural sound quality.

Are all Hearing Aids the same?
There are different styles, different technologies, and different manufacturers. An audiologist is best educated to recommend what would be appropriate for you.

What about surgical implants?
There are people with severe to profound hearing losses that may be candidates for certain types of implants or semi-implantable devices. Most people, however, having any usable hearing with hearing aids are not candidates for this type of procedure.

What if I don't do anything about my hearing problem?
Research indicates that if not properly used or stimulated, your hearing can degenerate faster over time. It is important to have your hearing evaluated periodically to be sure this is not taking place.