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Testing your hearing aid

Once you have visited an audiologist, had a hearing test and picked a hearing aid, you need to try out the aid and make sure it is suitable for you.

Read the first part of this guide: Buying your first hearing aid

You should always be given a trial period when you buy a hearing aid – some time in which you can determine if the aid is right for you and return it if it is not. If you have visited a hearing aid vendor that does not offer you a trial period with a full money back guarantee go somewhere else. It will take you at least two-four weeks to determine if a new hearing aid is suitable for you.

So, you’ve been fitted with your new aids, you’ve paid your money and you have a month to make a decision whether you are going to keep them or not. What do you do?

Make an appointment to see the audiologist again

Make an appointment for a week’s time, make it on the day you get the aid. I’m almost certain you will need it. Why? Digital hearing aids are highly tunable devices, it is possible to set them up to do many different things. Your new aids will have been set to what the audiologist thought was appropriate for you. But they are not you. They can’t hear what you are hearing, you need to be comfortable with the sound – you know what you want to hear and how you want to hear it.

Get some paper and a pen

Write down everything you notice about the new aids. What sounds good? What is too noisy? What can’t you hear that you would like to? Are they comfortable? How long did the batteries last for? Could you change the volume, settings and battery easily?
Write everything down as and when you notice it – when you go back to see the audiologist you won’t be able to remember everything so having notes makes sure all your problems are covered.

Test your new hearing aids

Digital hearing aids try to act like our ears. They try to reduce background noise for us and give us a better chance of hearing voices and other sounds that we really want to hear. Because of this ability to reduce background noise, the aids are going to react differently in different situations. Your new aids may sound great when you are at home watching the television but may be insufficient in a noisier environment like a restaurant.
It is important to make sure your new hearing aids work satisfactorily in all of the situations you find yourself in. So, wear them all the time and keep taking notes. Some situations to try them out in:

  • Watching the TV
  • At work
  • At home
  • Alongside a noisy road
  • Around a screaming baby/child
  • Using a telephone
  • At the shops
  • and so on…..

When you see the audiologist again

Do not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly they might seem. Present them with your notes and go through them. If something was too noisy or too quiet, can the audiologist correct it? If not, can you live with it?

If you have any doubts about the aids, let the audiologist know about them now. You are about to purchase some very expensive equipment – make sure you are 100% happy with it while you still have the option to get your money back.

Rinse and repeat

Keep making appointments, keep making notes and keep getting your aids tweaked until you are happy with them. Pester your audiologist as much as possible during your trial period, that’s what they are getting paid for!

Make the decision

You’ve been back to see the audiologist several times. They have changed settings and tried to fix all your problems. You now need to make that decision: are you keeping these aids? Don’t be afraid to give them back if you are not 100% happy. There are many different aids on the market and you have plenty of options. Whatever you do, do not keep the aids if you are not happy with them – they are far too expensive to be left unworn in a drawer.