Is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear.
Can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations
Amplifies sounds so a person with hearing loss can
Participate more fully in daily activities
A hearing aid has three basic parts
receives sound, converts sound waves to electrical signals
increases the power of signals
delivers the amplified signals to the ear
How can hearing aids help?
Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.
A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person’s hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide.
Which hearing aid will work best for me?
The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.
You and your audiologist will select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
What questions should I ask before buying a hearing aid?
Before you buy a hearing aid, ask your audiologist these important questions:
What features would be most useful to me?
What is the total cost of the hearing aid? Do the benefits of newer technologies outweigh the higher costs?
Is there a trial period to test the hearing aids? (Most manufacturers allow a 30- to 60-day trial period during which aids can be returned for a refund.) What fees are nonrefundable if the aids are returned after the trial period?
How long is the warranty? Can it be extended? Does the warranty cover future maintenance and repairs?
Can the audiologist make adjustments and provide servicing and minor repairs? Will loaner aids be provided when repairs are needed?
What instruction does the audiologist provide?
How can I adjust to my hearing aid?
Hearing aids take time and patience to use successfully. Wearing your aids regularly will help you adjust to them.
Become familiar with your hearing aid’s features. With your audiologist present, practice putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries. Ask how to test it in listening environments where you have problems with hearing. Learn to adjust the aid’s volume and to program it for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Learn how to pair your hearing aids with your phone and to make adjustments on the manufacturer’s app. Work with your audiologist until you are comfortable and satisfied.
You may experience some of the following problems as you adjust to wearing your new aid.
My hearing aid feels uncomfortable. Some individuals may find a hearing aid to be slightly uncomfortable at first.
My voice sounds too loud. The “plugged-up” sensation that causes a hearing aid user’s voice to sound louder inside the head is called the occlusion effect, and it is very common for new hearing aid users. Most individuals get used to this effect over time.
I get feedback from my hearing aid. A whistling sound can be caused by a hearing aid that does not fit or work well or is clogged by earwax or fluid.
I hear background noise. A hearing aid does not completely separate the sounds you want to hear from the ones you do not want to hear. Sometimes, however, the hearing aid may need to be adjusted.
My hearing aids have become unpaired to my phone. Occasionally your hearing aids and your phone may become unpaired. Resetting the connection is a fairly easy fix involving navigating a few settings on your phone.
How can I care for my hearing aid?
Proper maintenance and care will extend the life of your hearing aid. Make it a habit to:
Keep hearing aids away from heat and moisture.
Clean hearing aids as instructed. Earwax and ear drainage can damage a hearing aid.
Avoid using hairspray or other hair care products while wearing hearing aids.
Turn off hearing aids when they are not in use.
Replace dead batteries immediately.
Keep replacement batteries and small aids away from children and pets.