Buying a new hearing aid – it takes two to tango
I’ve written before about how important it is to have a great audiologist. But that’s not the whole story. You are involved too and you are just as important as the audiologist.
When you’ve been fitted with your new hearing aid for the very first time it will be set-up to match the results of your hearing test. You are in the audiologist’s office with your new aids in your ears and you are listening to lots of new sounds. If you experiencing any problems straight away like not being able to hear or your are getting some feedback, tell the audiologist and they will re-programme your aid to fix the problem.
So now your visit to the audiologist for fitting is over and you’ve started your trial period in which you decide if you want to keep the aids or not – most places will offer a one or two month trial with either a money back refund or a free swap to a different aid. It’s during this time that you are the important one, your audiologist has set the hearing aids for your hearing loss and now it’s up to you to find out what is working for you and what isn’t.
Your audiologist should have made a follow-up appointment for you so that you can report any problems and get them fixed – if they didn’t do that then book one yourself on the day of your fitting for a week’s time.
I can’t stress how important the trial period is for you, lots of people don’t like their new hearing aids because they don’t work as well as they thought they were going to. In worst cases, people will just dump their hearing aids in a draw and never use them because they’re pieces of junk. But they still have to pay for them.
The key thing is: it takes time to get used to new hearing aids. Your brain needs to adapt to the new sounds. If you’ve had an untreated hearing loss for a long time then your brain needs to re-learn how to interpret spoken words that it hasn’t heard for so long – this isn’t easy. People with a mild hearing loss should find it easier to adapt than someone with a severe one.
If you have a two month trial on your new aids then it is absolutely critical that you wear them as much as you possibly can in all of the situations that you are going to want to hear in (at home, at work, bars, sports events, etc). And just as importantly: reports everything back to the audiologist on your visits, the good things as well as the bad.
If you can wear your hearing aids enough to find all of the problem and get them fixed then you are going to be able to make a much more informed decision at the end of your trial period. And worst case: you might have a problem with them that can’t be fixed, best to discover that while you are still in the trial.
And remember, it takes time to get used to new hearing aids. Your brain will be working hard to make sense of the new sounds and it will also adapt to them over time, so you might not hear exactly the same in the first week that you are wearing them as you will in the eighth week. If you wear glasses then you’ll know that everything seems a bit blurry and weird when you first put on a new pair but that soon disappears as your brain compensates for the new visual signals it is getting and it’s the same with your ears and hearing aids.