Today I visited my audiologist for a maintenance appointment. Usually I wait until one of the ear pieces on the end of the eartube has broken before scheduling an appointment. But this time, nearly eight months has passed with everything intact and I thought I'd better check in. I also wanted to discuss my program settings with her.
As always, I came into the office full of questions. My first one was, "How often should I be coming in for eartube replacement?" I had in the back of my mind that this needed to happen about every six months. My audiologist corrected me on this saying for my hearing aid if nothing is broken, then it's a matter of personal preference. Some people don't come in, others come in every six months. Apparently the good advice she gave me at my last appointment about cleaning my earpieces with alcohol free baby wipes has extended their life. Before it seemed as though I was getting replacements every 4-6 months.
Next, I discussed my program settings with her. I told her that I've been running my hearing aids almost exclusively on my second program - the noise reduction one. I also told her that I've been wearing my assistive listening device more and more. She looked over my charts and the graphs of my current settings. Her recommendation was changing my first program so that it is identical to the second program in noise reduction and speech enhancement. Then she boosted the volume setting a bit on the first program but not so much that I would be startled by the increase in volume. She suggested giving this a try and then letting her know my experience with these settings. Reassuringly, she was very open to the possibility of future adjustments if needed.
Then I brought up some other questions that have been bugging me for a long time due to a previous mishap involving heat and water. Do I need to take my hearing aids out if there's a light misting of rain or if it's sprinkling? I pointed out that I do have long hair which covers my hearing aids. She told me that hearing aids are laboratory tested for these conditions and that I don't need to remove them. I tested her with a follow up question. What about when cooking in the kitchen and I'm boiling water for pasta and there's a lot of steam? Patiently she replied that even in that case it was okay to keep my aids in. Putting them in a dry and store at night helps. When I mentioned that to be safe I had always taken my aids out in these situations, she replied she wished everyone were cautious with their hearing aids but I didn't need to be quite so careful.
Time for my final question. I told her I belonged to a local hearing loss support group and asked if it would be okay to send her some flyers for our next meeting. She was delighted. She said she would set up a special display for them there and in the other office in a nearby town. I ended my appointment on a positive note.
As today she only had in stock an eartube for my left aid and needed to order an eartube for my right, she reminded me as I was leaving that she would contact me when the part had arrived. Goody, I thought, this worrywart will have time to come up with even more questions.
Does your audiologist answer your questions to your satisfaction?