Hi, this email will help you manage your expectations about hearing aids.

1. Expect others to notice your hearing loss before you do! A
common complaint of hearing-impaired individuals is that other
people mumble - and if they would just speak up, it would be easier
to hear them! This is placing the "blame" externally, rather than
accepting the reality that your ears are not as good as they used
to be. Realize that it is YOUR hearing. Take that step to have your
hearing tested before you blast your loving spouse out of the den
with the blaring sound of the TV set. The first thing to do is get
a hearing test!
2. Expect the hearing aids to cost more from your Audiologist than
if you buy them online. There are three categories of hearing aid
technology - analog, digitally programmable, and digital. Analog
technology has been around for many years. Aids utilizing this
technology are also called "conventional" hearing aids and they are
the least expensive. According to the most recent dispenser survey
published in the Hearing Review , the average price of a hearing
aid with analog technology will cost approximately $900 to $1500
per aid at an Audiologist, depending on the size of the aid - the
smaller the aid, the larger the price. Digital hearing aids use
digital signal processing - the newest form of technology on the
market. Digital hearing aids are indeed complete computers, similar
to the PC on your desktop, but they are the size of a pencil
eraser! These aids cost approximately $2500 per aid at an
audiologist, similar to your PC. Digitally programmable hearing
aids will probably cost somewhere between the conventional price
and the digital price. You may benefit from any of the three types
of technology.
3. Expect a period of adjustment. Once you get your new hearing
aids, expect an adjustment period of several days to many weeks to
get used to the daily care and maintenance of the hearing aids.
You'll need time to learn how to; insert and remove the hearing
aids from your ears, learn to adjust the volume control (some
hearing aids have volume controls, other are automatic), learn how
to clean them, learn how to open and close the battery door, learn
to change the battery, get accustomed to placing the hearing aids
in a dry-aid kit for the times when they are not in your ears. As
you can see, there is a lot to learn, and people learn at different
speeds. I recommend that you go slowly, learn one thing at a time,
practice, and stay in contact Century Hearing Aids.
Many times, a spouse (or significant other) is very useful in
helping you adjust to the new responsibilities of ownership of
hearing aids. The largest adjustment you will go through is, of
course, listening with your new hearing aids. You will hear sounds
that you have not heard for a long, long time. Some of these will
be "good sounds", like the songs of the birds or high-pitched
voices of children. Other sounds, the "obnoxious ones", are sounds
we need to hear for our safety and/or general knowledge of what is
happening around us. These are sounds like the refrigerator or air
conditioning units humming and buzzing, the sound of our footsteps,
or a "knock" in the sound of the car engine. Research in this area
has shown that this adaptation or adjustment period may last a few
months. It takes time for the brain to re-learn all these sounds.
Be patient!
4. Expect your voice to sound different. For many reasons, your
voice will sound strange to you at first - like being in a barrel.
This is a normal early perception and it is often called the
'occlusion effect'--this is the feeling like your are in a tunnel
affect. Many times, this feeling can be alleviated through
changing the vent size in your hearing aids or changing the amount
of amplification you are getting for low-pitched tones.
5. Expect a good, comfortable fit. Initially, it will take a while
to get used to having the hearing aids in your ears. You may
experience a little soreness or irritation at first, but after a
few days or a week or so, you should be able to wear the aids for
several hours per day without any pain or discomfort. I always find
it reassuring when patients tell me they often forget that they are
wearing their aids. If your aids are not comfortable, you will not
get the maximum benefit from them, and you should not wear them.
6. Expect to be able to hear well, but not perfectly, in quiet
one-to-one situations and most small group settings. In order for
you to hear well, we must make sound audible, then comfortably
loud. Your hearing aids will amplify sound so speech will become
comfortably loud. You should be able to hear most of what is said
without having to watch a person's lips all the time. However, even
people with normal hearing watch the person speaking in order to
gain more information! Even when wearing the hearing aids, you
should combine your vision and your hearing to maximize your
benefits from the hearing aids. When sound is comfortably loud, it
will be easier for you to listen and the stress of straining to
hear rapidly diminishes. Therefore, listening in social situations
becomes pleasurable again.
7. Expect an optimal "distance for hearing". The best distance for
hearing with your aids will be dependent on the type of microphones
in your hearing aids, and other factors. The hearing aids may be
directional (1 microphone) or adaptive-directional (2 microphones).
Ask us which type of microphones you have, and the effective
listening range or effective "distance for hearing". People within
this distance will be the most audible to you. Once you increase
the distance from the source you want to listen to, it will get
increasingly difficult to hear - just like without the hearing
8. Expect to have difficulty hearing in noisy situations. You may
say that you can hear fine in quiet and that the noisy situations
are the ones in which you need the most help. This is a common
statement made by individuals who have hearing loss due to aging,
noise-induced hearing loss, or any hearing loss
where the high-pitched tones are affected the most. Eventually
though, as
your hearing loss progresses, your ability to hear in quiet
settings is also affected. Background noise is a nuisance for
everyone, even normal hearing individuals. As sophisticated as
today's technology is, hearing aids still cannot eliminate
background noise for you. Some of the more sophisticated digital
circuitry can effectively reduce (although not eliminate)
background noise.
9. Expect Your hearing aids to squeal (also called "whistle," or
"feedback") under some circumstances. If a hearing aid is somewhat
functioning and has a good battery in it, this squeal (acoustic
feedback) will occur when the hearing aid is cupped in the hand.
Most users find that this helps determine the status of the battery
and it is a good sign! However, you should be able to wear your
hearing aids at a comfortable loudness level and not experience
this squeal. If you do not have a volume control on your aids, they
will squeal when you place them in your ears - until you get them
placed comfortably. Sometimes, your aids will squeal if you press
the phone too tightly to your ear.
10. Expect repairs. You should realize that hearing aids are
incredibly sophisticated devices being inserted in the ear canal
where moisture and ear wax is waiting to attack any foreign object!
Hearing aids are also prone to being dropped if our fine motor
dexterity is a little compromised. Microscopic solder joints that
connect the tiny wires of the microphone and receiver to the
computer chip in the hearing aid can be jarred loose. All repairs
cannot be avoided, but the majority of repairs can be avoided with
regular and careful maintenance! Definitely avoid water--swimming
taking showers with your hearing aids on.
11. Expect to buy batteries. Hearing aid batteries will probably
last a week or two in the hearing aid. Hearing aid battery service
life varies based on the hearing aid circuit and the quality and
type of battery and is also dependent on environmental conditions
(temperature, humidity etc.). Some people ask why hearing aid
batteries don't last as long as watch batteries. The answer is the
hearing aid battery accomplishes a great deal more work and
requires much more electrical energy than does a watch battery. The
information you receive during the hearing aid orientation session
will define a reasonable length of time for your batteries. When
your hearing aids are new, you might want to keep a calendar
indicating the days you change batteries. Opening the battery door
when not in use will help the batteries last longer--when the
door is closed--the hearing aids are on.
12. Expect to purchase new hearing aids every 3 to 5 years. This
may come as a surprise, particularly if you just purchased a set of
digital hearing aids! However, hearing aid technology changes
rapidly, just like computers, and new technology may benefit you
greatly. Some people may keep the same pair of hearing aids for 10
to 12 years (which is rare), particularly if their hearing loss
remains stable over
time and if they do a great job with maintenance, but the average
life expectancy is about three to five years.
13. Most importantly, expect to enjoy the sounds of life again!
Your hearing aids are a key ingredient to staying active and
improving the quality of your life. You will once again enjoy
social events, leisure activities, and conversations with your
family, friends, and co-workers. Your hearing aids will also help
you hear sounds to keep you safe and well.