Will wearing cheap hearing aids affect your health?
Hearing aids will not have any impact on the health of the body. It is not cheap hearing aids that are not good. The only thing matter is whether hearing aids are suitable or not. Of course, cheap hearing aids are not comfortable to wear. If the matching is not good, it will have an impact on deafness.
If it is big, it will be ear shattering, but if small, it will not be heard. Therefore, hearing aids must be tested and matched in a professional agent, which is suitable for your own hearing aids. Only in this way can it be helpful to wear them, and they will not become more and more deaf.
What Can an Audiologist Do for You?
The good news is there are a variety of hearing care professionals ready to help you start your journey to better hearing. Audiologists are one of these professionals.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you become aware your hearing isn’t what it once was and you are in good health then an audiologist is perfectly qualified to check out the problem. If you experience other symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or faintness, then it is best to see your physician, who can investigate issues that might affect your hearing. They will then suggest you see a hearing care professional, like an audiologist.
What an audiologist does
Audiologists like to paint a complete picture of your hearing health. By looking deeper for the root cause of your hearing problem, sometimes a solution other than a hearing device presents itself. Indeed, the audiologist can spot patterns in the audiogram which serve as an early warning of heart disease! (Furred up blood vessels can cause changes in the microcirculation to the ear which alter hearing.)
In addition, the audiologist takes the time and care to get to know your hearing needs and therefore which hearing device is best suited to meet them. For instance, the active sportsperson who perspires heavily has a different requirement to a person taking part in a choir. The audiologist also has knowledge of the latest devices at their disposal, and can suggest devices that suit those who are less dexterous or alternatively who require a highly discrete hearing aid.
Level of service
Audiologists also pride themselves on offering an outstanding level of service to their patients. They help you become familiar with your device, and fine tune it so you get the most from it. And if you are struggling to adapt to life with a hearing device, they are happy to help with rehabilitation to help you become a confident user.
Servicing hearing aids
And finally, don’t forget, your audiologist also undertakes servicing and minor repairs, and often offer a loaner device should yours be away for any length of time. On every count, an audiologist is best placed to serve all your hearing needs.
Top 10 Questions to Ask your Audiologist
Everyone has done it. You have thousand-and-one questions to ask and then they fly out of your head. When having a hearing test plan ahead by reading our top 10 questions that cover all the options.
#1: Can I bring a friend along?
During the consultation, you might not remember everything that’s said to you. Having an extra pair of ears in the shape of a friend or family member is an invaluable aid to getting the most out of your visit.
Most audiologists are more than happy to accommodate this request, so don’t be bashful and plan to take someone along for moral support.
#2: What is the main problem with my hearing?
It may be obvious to the audiologist what the problem is, but are you clear? If you aren’t then ask a direct question; it is your hearing after all.
#3: What will happen if we do nothing?
For clarities sake it’s a good idea to have a grasp of the worst case scenario. Before you invest in a hearing device, cut the chase and check you actually need hearing help at this stage. Sometimes a problem can safely be monitored, or it might even be wise to follow up with a medical physician depending on the cause of the hearing loss is.
#4: How do we correct my hearing problem?
The audiologist confirms your suspicions that it is time to use a hearing device. But the latter vary widely in style (such as behind the ear or in the canal), design and capability. Your audiologist will welcome the chance to talk through the options and may include speech therapy or learning to read facial expressions.
#5: Is my new hearing aid covered by a warranty?
A highly capable hearing aid is not cheap, so for peace of mind find out how long it is warranted for and what that guarantee covers. It might be possible to purchase an extended warranty.
#6: What happens if my hearing device needs repairs?
Many clinics undertake minor adjustments on site. For more serious issues the device might be sent away for repair. If this is the case, ask if the clinic has ‘loaner’ devices to assist your hearing while yours is away.
#7: How do I maintain my hearing aid?
Simple maintenance measures such as airing the battery compartment at night can extend the working life of your device. Check with your audiologist how to do this.
#8: When is my next hearing test due?
A crucial question for the best ongoing hearing health, your audiologist will recommend when it’s time to have your first hearing test. It’s also possible you’ll need another one done even after you get hearing aids to ensure your hearing isn’t changing.
#9: What is the best way to contact you if I have questions?
More than likely questions pop into your mind once you leave the clinic. Having a contact phone number or an email address means you can get those queries answered.
#10: Is there anything else I should know?
While this is an open-ended question, it can help jog your audiologist’s memory to make sure they covered all the bases when it comes to your hearing health!
Common Hearing Aid Repairs
If you hearing device is playing up, it may need professional attention. However, whether it’s static feedback or loss of volume, avoid an unnecessary trip to the audiologist’s office by first checking out these basic steps.
Check for trapped wax
The small size of modern hearing devices means they are tiny tubes and small ports which can easily become clogged with that most natural of all substances, earwax. If an ear mold becomes plugged this leads to reduced volume or static feedback, which can make it seem the hearing device is faulty when all it needs is a clean.
As with so many things, prevention is better than cure. Wipe your hearing aid off with a soft cloth every night, and check the ports for the presence of wax. If you find yourself regularly dislodging lumps of wax from the ear mold, then using an ear cleaner a couple of times a month may help.
Inexpensive cleaning kits are available, designed to keep the ports of your device clean. For a minimal financial outlay these enable you to remove wax plugs without damaging to the delicate working parts of the device.
If your hearing aid isn’t performing as it should, then replace the battery. A rundown or faulty battery, or indeed one inserted incorrectly, leads to a poorly performing hearing device.
Dry the device
Rain, high humidity, and perspiration are all the enemy of hearing devices. From moisture than can build up in the fine tubes to condensation in the battery compartment, the end result is an underperforming device.
Take care to open the battery compartment at the end of each day, to allow it to air. Also, wipe the device over with a clean dry soft cloth, and ideally store the hearing aid overnight in a dehumidifier. Again, these can be purchased inexpensively and can constructively extend the working life of your hearing device.
Check the tuning
If the hearing device sounds muffled or ceases to amplify sound, check the dials and settings. It’s the easiest thing for the volume dial to get knocked whilst putting the aid in your ear, and sometimes a lack of amplification can be down to something as simple as the volume switch getting tweaked to minimum.
Similarly, if the hearing device appears ‘dead’, try the on/off switch a couple of times. It’s easy for the button to inadvertently be pressed to the wrong setting.
Check the tubing
If yours is a behind-the-ear (BTE) device, regularly check the tubing for condensation, wax or breakage. Just as a puncture hosepipe won’t water the garden, so faulty tubing won’t transmit sound and simply replacing it could be the answer.
And finally, if you’ve covered all the basics then contact your audiologist. Interference, persistent static or sound fading in and out, are all problems they are familiar with and should be able to remedy.
What Does an Audiologist Do?
Preventing hearing loss
Hearing loss can severely alter the lives of individuals and one of the key responsibilities of an audiologist is to prevent hearing loss from happening in the first place. This includes creating and coordinating programs for school and occupations that educated the public on how to take the necessary steps to prevent hearing loss.
Audiologists can also make trips to work sites and other venues to measure the acoustic environment and make suggestions on how to lessen noise pollution.
Identifying hearing loss
If you think that you may suffer from hearing loss, an audiologist plays a major role in diagnosis. They are trained to understand warning signs of hearing loss and know how to conduct tests to confirm their suspicions.
Audiologists are involved in screening programs for newborns and school-aged children to ensure that hearing problems are diagnosed as soon as possible. Audiologists also screen for speech and language disorders which may be a result of hearing deficiencies.
Once audiologists believe that you suffer from some form of hearing loss, they will do their best to understand the cause of the loss. Different diagnostic tests such as nerve assessment and auditory functions will be conducted.
If need be, audiologists will also refer patients to professions and agencies that help to support those that suffer from hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss
After the initial diagnosis, audiologists will help in creating a plan to best serve in combating hearing loss. Hearing aids may be used and will need to be fitted and monitored. Follow-up appointments with audiologists will allow them to track your hearing progress and alter their rehabilitation plans if needed.
Hearing loss education
While audiologists go through extensive training to become certified, including a doctorate degree, as health care providers they need to continually educate themselves on the changing research of hearing loss. Understanding new theories on how hearing loss comes about and knowing what the latest technology is to treat hearing loss is an audiologist’s role.
A good audiologist will also want to share his knowledge with students enrolled in an audiology program. These degree programs include a practicum component and you may find that your audiologist has a student employed in hands-on-learning at your next appointment.
A final role of an audiologist is one that many people may not be aware of and that is advocating for the rights of people that suffer from hearing loss. This includes community engagement so that safety issues are addressed as well as general education around what it’s like to live with hearing loss. Like any health issue, the more that hearing loss is talked about the less of a stigma it will have.
Frequently Asked Questions about Audiologists
* Can audiologists dispense hearing aids? Yes, audiologists can dispense hearing aids if they have a hearing aid dispensing license, which many of them do. If you think that you may wish to try hearing aids, make sure you choose an audiologist who also has a dispensing license, this information should be available on their website.
* Is it true that audiologists have a wider range of testing methods available to them than hearing instrument specialists? Yes, again. Audiologists undergo an extensive eight years of education and training (at a minimum), which fully qualifies them to implement a wide variety of hearing tests which go far beyond basic pure tone audiometry. For instance, Auditory Brainstem Response Testing (ABR), which allows them to assess the hearing ability of people who may not be able to participate in standard tests, such as babies, young children and people with mental impairments.
* Can audiologists diagnose the type and cause of my hearing loss? Yes, in most cases, though there are some very rare instances in which patients may need to be referred to other specialists such as an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). Hearing instrument specialists are not qualified to diagnose hearing loss, so if you are suffering from anything other than age-related sensorineural hearing loss which is common among older adults, you would need to see an audiologist.
* Can audiologists treat all types of hearing loss? Yes (barring extremely rare cases), unlike hearing instrument specialists who can only dispense hearing aids, audiologists can treat all kinds of hearing loss and have a variety of treatment options at their disposal, such as: cochlear implants, assistive technologies, aural rehabilitation, counseling and recovery programs.
* Are audiologists more expensive than hearing instrument specialists? Not necessarily. Many people wrongly assume that treatment or hearing devices purchased from an audiologist will be costlier due to their higher level of expertise, this isn’t the case. In fact, one recent national survey found that there was no discernible difference in the amount of money spent on similar services and products, whether they were obtained from an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist. Furthermore, patients who were treated by audiologists generally reported a higher level of satisfaction from the money that they spent.
* Can audiologists program, repair or adjust hearing aids? In most cases, yes. If the audiologist has a hearing aid dispensing licence, they will have taken a training course and passed an exam enabling them to appropriately program and make adjustments to the programming of assistive hearing devices. Many audiologists can carry out basic repairs from their offices should your hearing aid stop working, though there are some cases in which your aid may need to be returned to the manufacturer.
4 Questions to ask at Your Audiologist
* What type of hearing loss do I have? You could have conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, or a combination of the two. It is important to understand the nature of your own hearing loss, as the treatment possibilities vary depending on which you are experiencing. Conductive hearing loss can often be rectified whereas sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent, but hearing ability can be dramatically improved with the use of aids.
* What is the level and balance of my hearing loss? Namely, how severe is your hearing loss and is it more severe in one ear than the other. If you are experiencing only very mild hearing loss in one or both ears, it may be possible for you to get by without the use of hearing aids, or with only one aid, which can be appropriate for a small percentage of hearing loss sufferers. There is also some research to suggest that people may be affected differently depending on which ear has the lower level of hearing. For instance, hearing loss in the right ear has been linked with mild loss of reasoning ability, while hearing loss in the left ear is more associated with difficulty understanding the emotional tone in speech. There’s no doubt this is an interesting * subject and knowing which may apply to you can help you to understand the challenges you may face.
Is my hearing loss likely to worsen? Many people wrongly assume that a further decline in hearing ability is inevitable once an initial decline has taken place. This is not always the case: depending on what type of hearing loss you are experiencing; further hearing loss can often be completely preventable. Ask your audiologist for advice – see the next question!
* What can I do to protect my remaining hearing? Remember, your audiologist is the complete authority on hearing health, so take advantage of their expertise! There are likely to be many precautions you can take to prevent further damage to your hearing. For example: avoiding certain medications, becoming more aware of the sound levels you are exposed to in day to day life and using ear defenders where appropriate are all protective measures you can take.
Above all else remember that there is no such thing as a silly question where your health is concerned, so ask for as much clarification as you need. Audiologists are dedicated hearing care professionals who should have no problem taking their time to answer your questions and repeat information where necessary!
What to Expect at a Pediatric Hearing Aid Fitting
Scheduling an appointment
Parents who believe their child is suffering from hearing loss should make an appointment with a pediatric audiologist right away. Undiagnosed hearing loss in children can lead to developmental delays in language and reading.
Understanding the results
During the appointment, your child will undergo an audiogram — a test that indicates the type and degree of hearing loss. If hearing loss is diagnosed, the audiologist will guide parents in selecting the right hearing aids for your child.
The fitting process
After that initial appointment, parents and child will return for the hearing aid fitting. This appointment is the first time your child will try on and understand the benefits of their hearing aids. The appointment lasts between one and two hours (so bring snacks for little ones!). Often times, during the hearing aid fitting, a child will hear mom and dad’s voices for the first time, especially if they were born with hearing loss.
During the hearing aid fitting, the audiologist will make sure earmolds fit, if they were ordered and will program the hearing aids to your child’s hearing loss. To ensure the amplification is right, the audiologist will send sound through the aids to make sure loud sounds aren’t too loud and soft sounds aren’t too soft.
Hearing aid maintenance
During the appointment, parents will also learn the ins and outs of the hearing aid — how it functions, how to clean it, how to insert batteries and how to store it at night. The audiologist will also likely create a hearing aid wearing schedule to ease the child into living with the new devices. Often times, speech therapy is recommended as the child learns to hear and understand noises.
At the end of the appointment, your child will have a follow up appointment scheduled to ensure the hearing aids are working well. Should your child experience any troubles prior to the follow up appointment, make sure to contact the pediatric audiologist right away.
4 Reasons to Choose an Audiologist
Think of a hearing aid as an investment not only in your hearing health, but in your physical and mental well-being. Saving on the initial outlay may seem appealing but it is a mistake. If the device doesn’t meet all your needs, or its poorly programmed, or you are adequately tutored on how to acclimate to life with a hearing aid, then it’s likely to languish in a drawer.
So let’s take a look at four rational reasons why you should visit an audiologist.
1.Audiologists are hearing doctors
An audiologist is trained to degree level and above in hearing health. When an audiologist looks at your hearing tests results, they can spot tell-tale signs which indicate a medical problem is the root cause of your hearing loss.
An audiologist has a greater breadth of experience than a hearing aid dispenser and can help you with all sorts of issues from excess earwax to tinnitus, from hearing loss to learning expression reading.
2.Audiologists offer specialized advice
Improving your hearing isn’t as straightforward as putting a device in your ear and off you go. It takes time and technique to learn to adapt to the intrusion of noise pollution once again. All too often people are discouraged from using a device because the onslaught of noise is overwhelming.
An audiologist takes you through what to expect and puts a protocol in place to help you adapt. And if you’re still struggling, they’re there to help you along.
3.Audiologists are concerned about your experience
How is it that hearing device dispenser can sell at reduced prices?
It’s all a matter of scale! More people, more turnaround and shifting more devices while stocking fewer models.
Consider the contrast with an audiologist who prides themselves on getting to know the individual and then matching them precisely to the best device for them. There’s no pressure to suggest a certain model because the audiologist’s job is to provide quality and an exact match, rather than achieve a sales target to earn commission.
4.Audiologists continue education
Audiologists are medical professionals and duty bound by their professional governing body to keep up to date. This includes knowing about the latest research regarding hearing health, the pros and cons of a wide range of hearing devices, and new developments on the horizon.
This is especially important because in the same way smart phone technology changes rapidly, so does that of hearing aids. Keeping abreast of the latest models means better advice for you.
In short, know that the cheapest option isn’t always the most economical in the long term. When it comes to your hearing health, you get what you pay for and investing in a superior service represents good value.
How Do You Test for Tinnitus?
What tests are needed to diagnose tinnitus?
Most hearing health providers have the clinical tools and processes to do a proper testing. The first in this measurement would be a comprehensive hearing evaluation, and may then be followed up by any of the other tests:
Speech-recognition test: This test evaluates how well you hear and repeat particular words.
Pure-tone testing: Pure-tone testing measures the patient’s hearing across a variety of frequencies and volumes. The results are then plotted on an audiogram.
Tympanogram: This evaluation measures how the middle ear is functioning, particularly the movement of the conduction bones and tympanic membrane.
Acoustic-reflex testing: Acoustic-reflex testing that gauges how effectively the middle ear muscles contract and respond to loud noises.
Otoacoustic-emission testing: This test involves the use of sensitive microphones to objectively measure hair cell movement within the middle ear.
The tests above are essential in determining the type of hearing issues that the patient is going through. There are specific hearing tests that will give doctors and other hearing health professionals a treatment plan.
There are also additional tests a hearing provider can perform to access tinnitus, including tinnitus sound matching. This test involves setting the pitch and creating sounds that might actually be an exact replica of what the patient hears with his or her tinnitus.
How is tinnitus treated?
Unfortunately, tinnitus is not a curable condition at this time. However, there are a large variety of treatment options available to mask the discomfort and provide you with relief from symptoms. Hearing aids are generally recommended to help block-out the sounds experienced from tinnitus. Additionally, noise cancelation, relaxers and masking machines can be utilized to help you find relief from tinnitus.
If you are concerned you might be suffering from tinnitus, be sure to speak with a hearing care provider as soon as possible. Tinnitus can be a debilitating condition if it goes untreated, so don’t put off treatment any longer!
Ear Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t: Use cotton swabs
You may have done a double take when reading this first “Don’t” on the list. Most people use cotton swabs incorrectly and stick the swab in the ear canal. This is not the way to clean your ears! It says right on the package, “Do not put swab in ear canal.” It’s a habit worth breaking. The cotton can irritate your ear canal and actually may push earwax further in your ear rather than remove it.
Do: Keep your outer ear clean
Ears are self-cleaning. Earwax forms near the outer parts of the ear canal and most people require just a wipe of the outer ear with a washcloth or tissue a couple times a week. This simple procedure should keep excess earwax from forming and possibly building up near the eardrum.
Don’t: Make your own ear cleaners
It’s tempting for some people to use a hairpin or a pen to remove earwax. Don’t do it! Any pointed object can bruise your eardrum or tear a hole in it. As the old saying goes, “Never put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow.”
Do: Use products recommended by hearing care providers
If earwax build-up is a problem due to overproduction, there are several at-home remedies available. It’s important to discuss these options with your hearing care provider to ensure they’re safe and effective. Gently irrigating your ears in the shower or bath may help remove earwax. If that doesn’t work, a few drops of mineral oil or baby oil are safe to use once or twice a week. Irrigation kits are available in stores or a health care professional has tools for earwax removal.
Don’t: Ignore ear problems
If your ears itch a lot, have a bad odor or are painful, these could be signs of an impaction or wax blockage of the ear canal. Earaches, ringing in the ears or a plugged-up feeling are also symptoms of a potential problem.
If you wear hearing aids, you may notice an increase in wax production. It’s important to properly clean your hearing aids and your ears.
Do: Visit your hearing care professional
If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to have your ears checked. Hearing care professionals have special drops or irrigation tools and other methods of removing earwax safely.
Ear cleaning is not complicated and should take just a few minutes at home. For most people, a daily cleaning is not necessary. A simple wipe of the outer ear and avoiding sticking objects in the ear canal most often is enough to maintain healthy ears.
How Allergies Impact Hearing
What causes allergies?
A simple example of an allergy is a mosquito bite. Your body responds to the bite by producing antibodies that release histamine, which causes the itch. In this case, that’s the allergic response. Allergies to pollen or grass may cause sneezing, congestion and production of mucus. Animal dander and dust mites also can cause allergic reaction any time of the year and some people have food allergies.
Most allergies affect the middle ear, the location of the Eustachian tube. This part of your ear serves as a drainage tube, similar to a pressure release valve. If the tube is clogged with mucus, pressure builds, making it difficult to hear. This is called conductive hearing loss. The problem usually is temporary and resolves itself as the allergic reaction fades.
Middle ear infections, known as otitis media, are more common in children than adults. A doctor may recommend allergy tests if these ear infections occur regularly. Outer ear infections are generally caused by bacteria and may not be related to allergies.
How do allergies impact ears?
Allergy symptoms can affect all three parts of your ear. In the outer ear, you can experience swelling or itching. In the middle ear, fluid build-up can cause earaches or pressure. This pressure is uncomfortable and also can cause balance issues. The fluid also can harbor bacteria, leading to infection. In the inner ear, allergies can affect people who have inner-ear disorders like Meniere’s disease (a disorder that includes vertigo, tinnitus and deafness).
When to see a doctor for treatment
If you’re suffering from other allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes and a stuffy nose, over-the-counter medication may help your ears as well. Antihistamines can reduce the inflammation caused by the allergy, while decongestants will help with a clogged nose and ears. Because ear pressure can be a symptom of many other problems, it’s advisable to see a doctor if the pressure doesn’t go away or becomes painful. Continued pressure can lead to hearing loss.
Also, if your allergy symptoms include ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or vertigo (dizziness), a visit to a hearing care provider is in order.
As many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children reportedly suffer from some type of allergy. Because allergies can cause temporary and in some rare cases permanent hearing loss, it’s important to know how allergies impact hearing and to address any problems early on.
Signs You May Have a Hearing Loss
* Do you find yourself constantly asking for people to speak up?
* Do you have more problems hearing women or children, those with high pitched voices, speak as opposed to men, those with low pitched voices?
* Do you find yourself talking louder to the point of shouting because you cannot hear yourself even in quiet environments?
* Do you find yourself having a very hard time hearing people in loud environments such as a restaurant or pub?
* Do you find yourself constantly having to turn up the volume on the TV even though nothing has changed in the room you are watching TV in?
* Do you find yourself constantly having to turn up the volume or car stereo?
* Do you notice that you cannot hear things that you once used to be able to hear?
* Do you have a ringing in your ears?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you may have a hearing loss. You will want to consider a few factors prior to booking an appointment with a hearing health professional. Consider these factors:
* Do you work in a loud environment?
* Do you wear hearing protection at work?
* Have you ever worn hearing protection at work?
* What environments do you notice the most problems in? Loud? Soft? All environments?
* Do you have a cold or flu?
* Do you have a family history of hearing loss or hereditary hearing or ear diseases?
Depending on your answers to the above questions you may want to book an appointment with a hearing health professional as soon as possible. If you work in a loud environment and do not wear hearing protection you may have hearing loss. However, at the same time if you didn’t previous wear hearing protection at work but you do now that previous exposure may have still caused hearing loss.
Pay close attention to what environments you have problems hearing in. Most people have problems hearing in loud environments but it is how the background noise affects you that can be an indicator that you may have hearing loss. But if you have constant problems hearing in quiet environments to speech then you might definitely have a hearing loss, though your ears may also be impacted with wax which will need to be cleaned out by a doctor.
Check your family history with hearing loss and degenerative diseases to the ear and hearing. This could be hereditary and could be causing problems with your hearing.
Having a cold or flu can cause temporary hearing loss so be sure to wait until you are well before booking an appointment with a hearing health professional for a hearing test to check your hearing. Having a cold or flu can greatly affect your hearing test results.
4 Reasons to Avoid Cotton Swabs when Cleaning Your Ears
1. Eardrum damage
Contrary to what you might think, a cotton swab is capable of reaching your eardrum. It doesn’t have to be sharp to do damage since the eardrum is thin, delicate and sensitive to pressure (it’s job is to vibrate in response to sound waves, after all). Shoving even a blunt object into your ear canal poses the risk of rupturing your eardrum and compromising your hearing. Can you see why hearing healthcare professionals take it so seriously?
2. Compacted earwax
Secondly, the ears are designed to push wax out from the ear as it traps debris and germs. When you insert a cotton swab, it counteracts this exit strategy by pushing wax and other debris further into the ear canal, where it cannot escape. Continuing to push earwax buildup toward the eardrum not only risks damaging it, but creating a potentially painful blockage.
3. Cotton debris
Although you’re trying to remove excess earwax, using a cotton swab may add to the problem by leaving behind small pieces of cotton. This irritates your ears, encourages more earwax production and can make them feel much “dirtier” than before.
4. Infection and hearing impairment
Finally, pushing dirt, earwax and cotton debris further into your ear canal creates an atmosphere where bacteria can thrive and grow into a full-blown infection. Ear infections, in turn, can cause temporary hearing loss and affect other aspects of your health and wellness.
Considering these major risks, it’s easier to understand why hearing healthcare professionals advise against using cotton swabs. Let your ears clean themselves, and if you experience buildup that’s painful or interfering with your hearing, speak with a hearing specialist.
When Should You Visit an Audiologist?
Because hearing health is often overlooked, it can be challenging to determine when you should visit an audiologist. Consider the following four questions when deciding whether to call the audiologist or not.
Do you suffer from excessive earwax?
Earwax isn’t bad for your ears in small amounts; it actually helps to protect your inner ear from dirt and infection. However, if you begin to notice excessive wax in your ears, it might be a good idea to get them professionally cleaned, as this can affect your hearing. Do not attempt to clean the wax out of your ears yourself; many earwax removal products will actually do more harm than good. Ear cleaning and earwax removal are services offered by your audiologist.
When did you last have a checkup?
Hearing health is so widely disregarded that most people will go for years and years without a check-up, only resorting to contacting an audiologist when something goes wrong. You should get your ears checked out and your hearing tested once a year. Hearing loss usually develops so gradually that you won’t notice until it has started to have a seriously detrimental effect on your quality of life. Regular check-ups will mean that any problems or minor dips in hearing ability are picked up early enough for something to be done to prevent further damage.
Have you experienced sudden hearing loss?
If you recently experienced a very sudden decline in your hearing ability, you should seek the advice of an audiologist immediately. If the hearing loss is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, schedule a visit with your audiologist. Sudden hearing loss is not always caused by infection; it may be temporary, however there are a number of serious, otherwise undetectable conditions that could contribute to it; so don’t take any chances and get it checked out.
Is your child displaying behavioral problems?
If your child is displaying behavioral problems in class or poor academic performance, it may be worth getting their hearing tested. Hearing loss can develop at any age and it is the most common birth defect in the United States, though it is not always detected as early as it should be. Not being able to hear properly in class and the social frustrations associated with hearing issues could lead your child to act out. If you are at all in doubt, book a consultation with an audiologist.
These are only a few of the scenarios that indicate you may need to see an audiologist. If you suspect something isn’t right about your hearing health, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit as soon as possible.
Hearing Aid Fittings for Children
However, the fact is, hearing loss isn’t limited to older individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between two and three of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born deaf or with some degree of hearing loss. Even more children will develop hearing loss later as a result of infection, medication, genetic predisposition or due to noise-induced hearing loss.
A child will be diagnosed with hearing loss through a series of testing with an audiologist. They will be able to determine the type and degree of hearing loss and suggest solutions, such as hearing aids, to help the child hear better.
Upon selecting hearing aids, a child will return to the audiologist for a hearing aid fitting. Hearing aid fittings, while time-consuming, are often exciting for children and parents. The one-to-two hour appointment often provides the first opportunity for a child, especially one born with hearing loss, to hear his or her parents’ voices for the first time.
What to expect at a hearing aid fitting
During the hearing aid fitting, the audiologist will make sure all components of the hearing aid fit comfortably and snugly. The audiologist will spend most of the time programming the hearing aids for their specific hearing loss. To program the hearing aids, the audiologist will ask your child to respond to sound sent through the hearing aids. Your child’s response will determine if the right amplification is going into the hearing aid. Verification tests show whether loud sounds aren’t too loud, soft sounds are loud enough and average sounds are comfortable to the ear.
Your child’s audiologist will schedule multiple follow-up appointments as they grow. These follow-up visits will monitor the function and fit of the hearing instrument, since the child’s ear canal grows quickly.
Adjusting to hearing aids
Hearing sound for the first time requires a big cognitive leap for young children. As such, a child’s brain need time to adapt to the new sounds it hears. Depending on the age of your child, they may benefit from speech and language therapy to catch up with kids their age.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) explains how “critical for the development of speech, language, communication skills and language.” While developing hearing loss at a younger age puts a child at more risk for developmental delays, the earlier hearing loss is identified and intervention is put into place the more likely the child will return to developmental levels with their peers.
Earwax Removal and the Audiologist
Earwax is produced by the body to keep the ears lubricated, to protect the skin in the ear canals and as an antibacterial and antifungal barrier to harmful debris entering the ear. It’s produced in the ear canal and works its way outwards to the end of the canal. Everyone produces earwax. Some people produce more than others. If earwax doesn’t properly exit the ear canal or if you produce large amounts of earwax it can build-up, harden and cause problems with hearing or even become painful.
Earwax removal in the audiologist office
If earwax is a problem, schedule an appointment with an audiologist. The audiologist can use different techniques to remove earwax safely and comfortably.
* Curette removal method: The audiologist may use a curette to remove earwax. This small tool is specially formed to go in the ear without causing damage. First the audiologist will use a lighted otoscope to look in the ear canal. This allows them to see how much earwax needs to be removed and where it is located. The curette is like a small spoon. The audiologist will use it to gently scrape the earwax out of the ear canal. This is not painful. The audiologist is trained to remove the earwax without damaging the inner ear or causing you any pain.
* Irrigation removal method: An alternative method of earwax removal used by audiologists is irrigation. Audiologists use special medical solutions to first soften and loosen earwax buildup and then water to flush the wax from the canal. The solution most commonly used is a carbamide oxide solution like hydrogen peroxide. The solution releases oxygen and this process releases earwax from the ear canal. Once the wax is loose, it is washed away with water. Audiologists are trained to irrigate the ear canal with just the right amount of pressure. Like curettage, this process is not painful.
Earwax removal at home
Do not place any object smaller than your elbow in your ear canal. Additionally, you should never place anything in your ears to remove wax – including cotton swabs and no candles.
Use a damp washcloth to wipe the outer portion of the ear and remove earwax. If recommended by the audiologist, you can use at-home irrigation. Do not use pressure when irrigating your ears and only use an irrigation kit recommended by your audiologist.
Tips to Protect your Hearing
One of the easiest ways to help prevent hearing loss is by investing in some low cost, but effective. Before you go to your next concert or sporting event, pack a pair of earplugs to protect your sensitive ears from loud noises. If possible, take breaks from the noise itself. This allows your ears the chance to rest and recharge themselves.
Turn down your music
Music is great, but should be listened to at an appropriate volume. This is especially important if you’re listening to music through ear buds or headphones. If the person next to you can hear the music even though you’re wearing headphones, then it is too loud. Similarly, if you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying, then chances are the music is too loud. Music is often listened to for a long period of time, so it’s important to make sure it’s at a volume that won’t damage your sensitive ears.
Employ the 60-60 rule
Basically, when listening to music via ear buds or headphones, you should keep the volume set at 60%. Then, music should be listened to for a maximum of 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, take a quiet break before listening to more music. Most MP3 devices have the ability to set your volume to 60%, so have a look through your settings to discover this function.
While earbuds have become the norm, they can do more damage to your hearing than headphones do. This is because ear buds sit inside your ear and focus all of the sound directly towards your ear drum. Headphones, on the other hand, give you a bit of space between sound waves and your ear drums. If possible, choose noise-canceling headphones so that you don’t have to turn the volume up to drown out background noise.
Lower your TV volume
Lowering the volume on your TV even one level can help to prevent hearing loss. If you watch a lot of TV, be especially aware of how loud it gets and if possible, lower the volume. The same goes if you listen to the radio a lot. You should be able to carry on a conversation over the volume of your TV. If you have to raise your voice then it is too loud.
Be aware at work
Most workplaces should be aware of noise safety, but if you feel like your hearing is not being adequately protected at your place of work, be sure to speak to someone immediately. Proper safety gear should be used if you work around loud noises and frequent breaks should be allowed so as to rest your sensitive ears.
Protecting your ears doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Your ability to hear is an important one to communicate and connect with others; make sure to take the above precautions when around loud sounds. If you’ve got more questions about ear protection or think you may already have suffered some damage to your hearing, schedule an appointment with a hearing care provider in your area to discuss concerns!
Can I Clean My Ears At Home?
When to clean your ears
Our ears have their own in-built mechanism of cleaning themselves up. Cerumen produced inside the ear helps in lubricating it and keeping away foreign objects, such as dust, debris and bacteria. However, the cerumen also traps dead skin cells and debris to form a thick, wax-like liquid that we commonly refer to as earwax.
While earwax gradually moves out of the ear during sleep or shower, in some cases it may begin to build up, causing irritation, pain and other more serious problems. Symptoms of earwax buildup include earaches, a feeling of fullness in the ear canal and oddly colored earwax. Some people even complain of sudden hearing loss and tinnitus.
How to clean your ears
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, the best course of action is to see an audiologist and get your symptoms checked. Most symptoms of earwax buildup are similar to signs of other problems, such as an ear infection or permanent hearing loss. Therefore, it is crucial to get a professional’s diagnosis on whether the problem is in fact earwax buildup blocking your ear canal.
If your audiologist determines the problem can be solved by ear cleaning or ear irrigation – you are in luck. Audiologists have a simple way of cleaning your ears. They use warm water or water and saline solution to help flush out the excess accumulation from your ear canals. It is a relatively pain-free procedure that takes little more than 30 minutes to perform. You can walk out of the audiologist’s office feeling as good as new.
Cleaning ears at home
Many people prefer to perform their ear cleaning at home. Experts strongly urge against it because of the imminent risk of doing damage to the delicate inner parts of the ear. However, you can clean your ears at home if you take all the safety precautions and discuss any methods with your audiologist first.
One safe way of cleaning your ears, for example, is to use medicated eardrops. These are easily available from any pharmacy and can be inserted into your ear canal to soften the earwax, fight off infections and kill any bacteria. Once the wax is softened, it will slide out of the ear in a natural way.
If you’re dealing with an earwax impaction or have any loss of hearing or pain, it’s time to see a professional. Talk with an audiologist in your area to find out what your options are when it comes to keeping your ears clean!
5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Hearing Test
1. Colds and flu
You know how your hearing is often muffled when you have a cold or flu? This is because the tubes connecting your ears to your throat become blocked. In turn, this causes pressure changes within the middle ear which then presses on the ear drums and affect your ability to hear.
Also, as part of the hearing test the audiologist measures the movement of the ear drum and the movement of the small bones in the middle ear. These may be dampened down when you have a head cold.
With this in mind, the ideal time to have a hearing test is when you are well. Consider rescheduling if you’re under the weather.
2. Wax removal
Just like wearing earplugs, a big buildup of wax within the ear canal impairs your ability to hear. Since part of the hearing test is working out the limits the loud and soft sounds you can hear, having waxy ears could give an artificial reading.
Therefore it’s a good idea to clean your ears a few days ahead of the hearing test. If you suspect a heavy wax buildup the audiology clinic or your physician can recommend someone to professionally syringe the ears.
Alternatively, buy some ear cleaning drops and use them several days in a row for the week leading up to the appointment.
3. Quiet time
Our ability to hear can be artificially reduced when we are exposed to loud sounds. This is what we experience after attending a loud rock concert or noisy nightclub, where you stumble away and find yourself holding a conversation in a shout.
Again, in order not to get false results, avoid exposure to loud noises in the hours leading up to the appointment. This doesn’t mean you have to go into isolation, but avoid bogeying on down to a disco beat at full volume in the time immediately before the visit.
4. List of questions
Should hearing loss be diagnosed, think about any questions you might want to ask the audiologist and write them down. For example, you may want to know:
* What happens if I do nothing?
* Do you recommend a hearing device?
* How will a hearing aid fit with my lifestyle?
* What are the options for hearing devices?
* Planning ahead and writing the queries down means you’ll be sure to cover everything you want to know.
5. Take a friend
Consider taking a friend or family member along to the appointment. This is perfectly normal and many people do it.
Having an extra pair of ears means you’re less likely to miss important information and have all the facts you need to make an important decision about the future of your hearing health.
5 questions to Ask at Your First Audiology Appointment
The first appointment with an audiologist can make anyone anxious, but it doesn’t have to. Taking some time to prepare yourself by making a list of questions can help you feel better walking into the appointment. Consider the following list, which is full of questions that will provide you the answers you need to have a full understanding of hearing loss and potential solutions.
1. How many follow up visits will I need?
It’s a good idea to have the right expectations during your journey with hearing aids. Make sure to ask the audiologist what type of follow up care you will need.
2. How long will my hearing aids last?
While hearing aid technology is getting better with time, hearing aids still wear out. Ask your audiologist how long hearing aids last to have a good understanding of the investment you’ll be making throughout the years.
3. Are warranties or insurance available for hearing aids?
Again, cost can be a big deciding factor in choosing the type of hearing aid. As such, it can be important to know whether or not your hearing aids are covered by any insurance or warranty policies, should something go wrong with them.
4. What if I don’t like the hearing aids I purchase?
Not every fit is a perfect fit the first time. Sometimes patients find that the hearing aids they’ve picked aren’t conducive with their lifestyle or turn out to be uncomfortable or far too much of a hassle. Make sure to ask your audiologist what kind of trial period they may be able to offer with hearing aids. This is important especially if you are headed in for your first pair of hearing aids.
5. Do I have to pay for hearing aids out of pocket?
Because hearing aids are such a costly investment, it is wise to understand how much you will pay for them. The audiologist will be able to work with you to understand the costs and what to expect upon purchase. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of hearing aids but some supplemental insurance can help out. Talk to the audiologist about potential supplemental help.
Your first appointment with an audiologist should be rewarding and provide you with all the information you need to take the next steps confidently. Talk more with your audiologist if you have any questions, concerns or issues.
5 Ways to Prepare for Your Hearing Test
1. Write it down
Prior to your appointment think about and write down any and all questions, comments or concerns you may have about your hearing, hearing loss, your audiologist or hearing aids to ask at your appointment. There is nothing wrong or stupid that you could say or ask your audiologist – all comments, questions and concerns are important and need to and should, for that matter, be addressed. It may also help to bring a friend or a family member with you to your appointment to make sure all your comments, questions or concerns are answered.
2. Listen with an open mind
Be prepared for anything they may say to you and be open to it. Your audiologist knows a lot; they have a wealth of information, knowledge and experience.
3. Do your own research
Prepare yourself by looking on the internet or asking others what their experience has been. Ask them about the testing and how it felt or what they heard. Watch videos online of hearing tests. Look at pictures of the equipment that is used. Read more articles related to hearing testing and the different parts of the hearing test. Learn from others.
4. Ask for their medical questionnaire ahead of time
It might be an idea to ask for their medical questionnaire ahead of time. Not only does this give you lots of time to fill out all of the required information but it also give you a chance to go over and digest what they are looking for. It can give you a sense of the types of questions they will be asking you in person and the types of questions you need to actually need answered.
5. Talk with your insurance company
It is a smart idea to talk with your insurance company prior to the appointment to find out what – if anything – is covered. You may also want to ask your audiologist’s practice if they direct bill to insurance companies. This way, by talking to your insurance company prior to your appointment, you will know and understand what your insurance company wants from you and your audiologist for the appointment to be covered.
The best advice is to be calm and to be open to the experience. There will be a lot of information given to you throughout the appointment to taking notes is a good idea; just as is writing down all of your comments, questions or concerns prior to the appointment. It can be overwhelming but with a calm mind and perhaps another set of ears in that of a friend or family member you will be able to handle and get through the appointment with flying colors.
4 Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips to Prevent Repairs
1. Do not expose your hearing aids to moisture
There are a small number of hearing aids that are genuinely waterproof. However, the vast majority of hearing aids are not waterproof. For waterproof hearing aids, it is okay to get them wet. But for most hearing aids, exposure to water or other fluids can be a disaster. That is because if fluids get into the hearing aid, they can damage the electronics within the device. So, you should always be careful not to expose your hearing aids to water unless they are waterproof.
2. Clean earwax out regularly
If you wear your hearing aids for long enough, then wax can accumulate within them. Too much wax in your hearing aids can cause them not to work effectively. To keep your hearing aids performing well, you should clean the wax out of them regularly. You can do this with a wax pic.
3. Store them in a secure location
You should not store your hearing aids on the ground or anywhere else where they can be easily damaged. If you step on your hearing aid or drop it, then that can definitely be enough to damage it. Hearing aid repairs can be very expensive. So, you should store your hearing aids safely in a box or case and then keep them in a drawer or somewhere else that is safe.
4. Do not use hairspray or similar products while wearing your hearing aids
While you are wearing your hearing aids, it is best to avoid dousing your head with perfume, hairspray or other products. This is because these products can get inside of your hearing aids and cause damage to them. Instead, wait until you are not wearing your hearing aids to use them.
Talk to your audiologist more about hearing aid care and maintenance. Your audiologist will be able to help you establish the right cleaning routine, in addition to evaluating and examining your hearing aids in the event repairs are needed.
Understanding a Hearing Test
Of course a hearing test is the gold standard by which your ability to hear a range of rounds is measured. But what exactly is the audiologist measuring, and what actually happens during the hearing exam? Let’s sound it out exactly so that you better understand the results.
No, this isn’t about doing bench presses or squat thrusts. Your hearing test starts in a logical manner when the audiologist looks into your ear canal with an otoscope.
This is to check for obvious blockages that could interfere with your ability to hear. Think of this like removing your ear plugs before listening to a conversation. If you have a buildup of natural ear wax in the canal, this can form a plug with muffles sound the same way an ear defender does.
When it comes to pure-tone testing, the audiologist plays you a variety of noises, some high and low pitches, and of varying loudness, and you have to indicate when you’ve heard the noise. This allows the audiologist to draw up a map of your hearing.
That map highlights how loud noises of a certain pitch need to be for you to hear them. The shape of this graph tells the audiologist how good your hearing is, and exactly what types of sounds (their frequencies) you have most difficulty with.
Additionally, your audiologist may perform a bone conduction test. This test is pain-free and simply involves placing a vibrating tuning fork against your skull. Bone conduction tests help to identify any physical barriers that stop sound waves traveling from the outer and middle ear, into the sensitive inner ear.
Speech recognition tests
As well as technological information, the audiologist will perform a spoken word test. The audiologist repeats a variety of one and two syllable words to see how many you can clearly hear. Speech recognition tests help to identify any problem areas in conversation.
Actually, this raises a valid point because a hearing ‘test’ isn’t meant to imply an exam with right and wrong answers. So be honest about what you hear, so that the audiologist gets an accurate picture of your hearing landscape.
Other tests to expect
To round things off, expect the audiologist to check out the loudest sound that you can hear without discomfort. And also, a piece of equipment measures how much your eardrum moves to get a read on the health of your auditory system.
Your audiologist will go over your test results and offer any recommended treatments if needed. You’ll also have the chance to ask any remaining questions or discuss any additional concerns.
What to Expect at the Fitting Appointment
The real ear measure
Once you have your hearing aids, you will have a final test. This is the real ear measure test. The audiologist will use a small tube placed in your ear, an exterior microphone and specialized software and equipment to measure the exact sound that is being delivered to your ear by your hearing aid. This test is done while you are wearing the hearing aids.
This is an important test because hearing is highly subjective and personal. Two people with the exact same hearing loss may need to have their hearing aids programmed differently because of personal preferences.
During the test, the audiologist will check the programming of your hearing aid with a variety of tones and levels. Taking the time to make these personal adjustments can be the difference between successfully wearing hearing aids and tossing them in a drawer unused because they are uncomfortable.
The goal of the real ear measure is to make the sound you hear comfortable and clear. Relax, while the audiologist personalizes your hearing experience.
Adjusting to your hearing aids
Just like wearing contacts, you must learn how to properly insert and remove your hearing aids. The audiologist will have you do this several times until you are completely comfortable handling your hearing aids.
Next, the audiologist will give you a plan for wearing your hearing aids during an adjustment period. When you have hearing loss, the brain is deprived of aural input. Your hearing aids will flood your brain with new input. For many people, this is overwhelming and tiring. However, by increasing the amount of time you wear your hearing aids each day, your brain can adjust to the return of auditory input comfortably. Some types of hearing aids can make your own voice sound odd to you. While open fit hearing aids address this issue to some degree, there can still be a period of adjustment. You may be instructed to read aloud from a book or magazine to become accustomed the “new” sound of your own voice.
Hearing aid care
As important as knowing how to insert and remove your hearing aids, you must know how to care for them. Hearing aids require regular cleaning and care. As part of the fitting appointment, the audiologist will teach you how to change the batteries, clean your hearing aids and store them safely each night. If there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
The hearing aid fitting is your formal introduction to wearing hearing aids and a successful fitting leads to success wearing your hearing aids.
5 Questions to Get the Most from your Hearing Test
1: How bad is my hearing loss and is doing nothing an option?
Your hearing test produces a full picture of any hearing deficits in an audiogram. From these test results, the audiologist knows the severity of the problem, identifying the type and degree of hearing loss you have.
Ask the audiologist to explain what the audiogram means in real terms (for example how on-going hearing loss impacts on day-to-day life) and what to expect if you do nothing. This is an important part of getting the best course of action straight in your mind. It’s also important to understand how you can get help. For example, a hearing device is a financial investment in your hearing health. When you fully acknowledge the benefits, it’s easier to see the value a device represents.
2: Which device best meets my needs?
Ask for the audiologist’s recommendations.
There is a confusing array of hearing aid models from which to choose. The audiologist will ask you about your hobbies and lifestyle, plus use the hearing test results to recommend the best product for you.
You don’t have to accept the audiologist’s advice, but comparing a device to the best recommendation is a useful way to assess its benefits and drawbacks, to reach an informed decision.
Be open and honest when discussing finances. The upfront cost may seem startling, but broken down in a monthly payment plan, the outlay is often less than a daily carry-out coffee. In addition, the audiologist may be able to help you investigate options such as Veteran’s benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, state programs, charitable organizations or offer a private financing arrangement.
4: How do I adapt to using a hearing device?
It takes time to get used to hearing noises that have been silent for so long. Many people find the intrusion of background noise difficult to deal with, and this deters them from wearing their device. Your audiologist will be happy to advise you on how best to acclimate to your newfound ability to hear, to become a confident and comfortable hearing aid user.
5: How do I care for my hearing aid?
With a little daily care there is no reason why your new device won’t work perfectly for several years. Of course the ideal time to get into good habits is from the word go, so asking your audiologist about hearing aid care gets you set for years of problem free hearing.
Questions to Ask About Hearing Aid Repairs
There are many easy at home fixes, including checking the battery and cleaning the aid, but sometimes you have to make an appointment with an audiologist who can provide expertise in malfunctioning hearing aids.
Before your appointment, it is important to write down any questions you may have ahead of time. Questions include:
* Cost. First and foremost you may want to discuss cost with your audiologist. Some hearing aid repairs are very cheap and cost effective. However, at the same time, some repairs cost a small fortune and it may be cheaper in the long run to purchase a new hearing aid. So talk with your audiologist before any major decisions are made.
* What they are doing. Ask you audiologist what they are doing as they are testing and diagnosing the issue with you hearing aid. Some of the tests that they perform may be done in the office with your present and watching; however, some of the tests may be done in their back room. So be sure to ask what tests they have done in order to determine if and what the problem with you hearing aids may be. Being informed is important.
* Why are they doing these tests? Ask them why they are performing specific tests. Some tests are done for very specific reasons, so while your hearing aid may be tested one way the next patients hearing aids may be tested another way. Once again information is important and knowing what and why it is happening is key to understanding what is wrong with your hearing aid.
* What are they looking for? Ask what they are looking for. Get your audiologist to explain what they are looking for during each test that they perform and get them to explain to you the results that they find with your hearing aid. Once again knowledge is power. The more you know the more you can prevent in the future.
* Why? Asking why in general is an important question. You want to know why this happened to you and your hearing aid in hopes that you can prevent this from happening again in the future. Prevention is important so if you can prevent the same occurrence from happening again in the future it will not only extend the life of your hearing aid but will also be easier on your pocketbook.
What To Do If You Are Not Satisfied With Your Hearing Aid Fitting
A lot of people who have recently been fitted with their hearing aids complain of not being happy with their choice. If you, too, are not completely satisfied with your hearing aid fitting, here are some tips to help you.
1. Talk to your audiologist
Hearing aid selection and fitting is never a dictatorial process. In fact, it is a two-way discussion path where you get to tell your audiologist what your expectations, preferences and lifestyle needs are and your professional will make recommendations based on them. However, you need to remember that your audiologist is also influenced by your hearing test results. This means the programming and settings are limited by the degree and shape of your hearing loss. While a compassionate audiologist will try their best to accommodate all your needs and preferences, they have to make the decision based on the recommended medical guidelines that come with your specific hearing loss needs.
2. Give it time
Like any other treatment process, hearing aids need some time to show their best results. Most of the time people are uncomfortable with their new hearing aids simply because they suddenly begin to receive an overwhelming amount of auditory input that their brain has “forgotten” how to organize and process. They start hearing things like the rustling of their clothes and the rhythm of their own breath. If this is the case with you, you need to give your brain some time to “relearn” which sounds to ignore and which to process.
3. Know it won’t be like before
Often, people with newly fitted hearing aids also complain that everything is too loud, things sound mechanical or their own voice seems funny. While hearing aids help individuals to hear in a number of different listening environments, they do not “restore” hearing, so it won’t be like it was prior to having hearing loss.
4. Go for regular follow-ups
The most effective way to adjust to your new hearing aids is to go for regular follow-up visits with your audiologist to fine-tune the sounds you are hearing, adjust the fit in your ear and talk about situations that are most challenging for you. Sign up for any orientation classes for new hearing aid wearers and try to wear your hearing aids all day to re-program your brain faster.
3 Tips to Select the Right Hearing Aids
There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the right hearing aids. Use these three tips for guidance, and the life-changing reward of improved hearing awaits.
Find the right audiologist
Hearing aids can be sourced from various places. But only an audiologist can give you the fully personalized experience that you deserve. Experts in audiology don’t only understand the different device types. They also have the knowledge and resources needed to understand you!
No two people are the same, so it’s imperative that any device is programmed specifically for you. This means having a hearing test to understand the type and severity of loss. Audiologists will discuss your daily activities to ensure that any product you purchase can satisfy those needs.
Essentially, hearing aids are not something that should be bought off the shelf. Without the help of an expert, you can only expect to see a limited improvement.
Try them on
First and foremost, any device built to help your hearing should serve that function. While you may not need to spend money on special features due to your lifestyle habits, finding hearing aids that do the job is job one. Nevertheless, there are other demands that should be on the agenda.
The appearance and discreetness of hearing aids can be a major factor, especially if you’re young. Moreover, they need to feel comfortable due to the fact you’ll be wearing them for hours at a time on a daily basis. Discussing the different options is one thing, but actively trying them on is the only way to get a genuine feel. After all, they are going to become a major part of your life.
On a separate note, you need to know that the products will last. Quality and durability are crucial aspects. This is why it’s crucial to analyze the different manufacturers and hearing aid types.
Seek more information
Selecting the right hearing aids is a process that requires time and effort. Frankly, knowledge is power, and you should have no qualms about seeking as much info as possible. Before you can begin to embrace better hearing, you must first remember to listen.
Getting value for money is imperative when choosing hearing aids. An audiologist can advise you about the initial cost, the expected lifespan, and any maintenance that can be expected. Those elements should influence your final decision. Not least because need to think beyond the initial requirements. Only when considering all aspects will you make a solid decision.
Finally, if you have friends or relatives that wear hearing aids, it’s always worth speaking to them. Their insight, good and bad, could prove to be crucial.
Three Tips for Adjusting to Hearing Aids
Consider three tips to help you adjust to your new hearing aids.
Patience and practice are both important
As with many things in life, patience is one of the key components to adjusting to your hearing aids. It’s important to be as patient as you can when adapting to hearing aids because there will be frustrating moments and even embarrassing situations you need to deal with. When you start wearing your hearing aids for the first time, you’ll need to train your brain to recognize certain sounds and filter them out. Some sounds may seem different or new, especially if you’ve not had good hearing for a long period of time. It may feel uncomfortable, which is why it’s important to give yourself ample time to adjust to these new sensations that you’ll be feeling. It does require a bit of practice and you may even need to adjust the settings to your liking in order to feel more comfortable with them.
Dealing with the cosmetic side of hearing aids
We all know that hearing aids can look unsightly especially if you’ve picked a behind-the-ear model. It can feel strange having a device hooked to your ear and it might even feel uncomfortable knowing that you have a plastic curved machine near your ear. Thankfully, speaking with your audiologist and asking him or her for alternate options can solve many of these cosmetic issues. For instance, there are invisible hearing aids that are incredibly difficult to see, and there are mini behind-the-ear hearing aids that provide the same features and quality of sound as a larger device. Speak with your hearing professional if you want more options to help you deal with the cosmetic side of using hearing aids.
Have realistic expectations
Finally, make sure you set realistic expectations with your hearing aids. Yes, hearing aids can help you hear better. It won’t be perfect, but as long as you focus on improving your ability to filter sounds and train your brain to recognize certain things, you can easily shorten the learning curve by several weeks. For some people, it can take half a year or more to fully adjust to the use of hearing aids, so don’t expect to quickly adjust within a couple of days.
4 Questions to Ask Your Audiologist
What kind of hearing loss do I have?
Contrary to what some might think, there’s more than one way to get hearing loss. Some of them are permanent, but some of them may be fully treatable. Hearing loss can be caused by all kinds of issues, such as aging, inflammation, infection, or even medications you have taken in the past. Hearing loss that happens over time tends to be permanent, while sudden hearing loss caused by something like an infection has a great chance of being cured completely. Your audiologist will most likely be able to find the root cause through an ear examination.
What happens during the examination?
Most people who visit an audiologist will have a full examination first, so it’s no surprise that this question is often asked. At the beginning of the exam, the audiologist asks the patient a series of questions about their medical history, lifestyle, and past medications. Following that, they will use specialized tools to take a closer look at the ear, which may help them identify issues such as an infection of an ear wax buildup. Finally, they will test your hearing, using a technique that shows how well you can hear different pitches and tones of sound, letting them better understand the level of hearing loss you’re suffering.
Can anything be done to improve my hearing?
The answer to this question depends on what the audiologist finds during the examination. If there’s an acute cause of your hearing loss, such as infection, then they may be able to treat and cure it. In most cases, where hearing loss is chronic, they may not be able to restore your hearing, but they can improve it. Hearing aids are a great option for anyone with hearing loss, and your audiologist can help you get more informed on the different options available, helping you pick those with the features most relevant to you and your lifestyle.
Is there any way to protect my hearing from further loss?
Beyond helping to diagnose and treat any hearing health issues, audiologists can be a source of very valuable information when it comes to taking care of your ears. They can share resources that you can read up on, teach you about different forms of hearing protection tools, and can highlight environments in your life where you might be exposed to too much noise. The advice the audiologist recommends can differ from patient to patient, based on the lifestyle you lead.
If you have questions, book an appointment with an audiologist. From inspecting and diagnosing to providing helpful advice on how to protect and enhance your hearing, they are your best bet for getting the answer you need.