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 aids. 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 or 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 battery 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.