Thursday, March 18, 2010

What to Expect When Getting Hearing Aids for the First Time

I have been contacted by someone who is getting her first pair of hearing aids soon. I want to give her some friendly supportive advice without overwhelming her with information on hearing loss.

So far I've suggested
  • Get adjusted to your aids slowly.
  • Begin wearing them in quiet places.
  • Use your own comfort level as a guide to how long to wear them rather than a set schedule.
  • Return to the audiologist for adjustments as needed.
  • This link for understanding her audiogram.
  • This link for understanding if her loss is mild, moderate, or severe.
My hearing aids are BTE open fit and are mostly comfortable and out of sight under my long hair. What would you respond if asked if your aids are comfortable to you? What do you say to people when they comment on your hearing aids?

What advice would you give to someone getting hearing aids for the first time?


Megan said...

I would tell someone getting hearing aids for the first time not to be afraid to be open and honest with the audiologist. I've been surprised several times over when I brought up a problem I didn't think could be fixed and the audiologist was able to make adjustments to make the problem subside. Hearing loss is such an individual thing, and even feeble attempts at explaining problems - "it squeals when somebody gets near my head, really loud like someone's whistling in my ear" - can tell the audiologist a lot.

You came up with some great stuff to tell this person. I wish her good luck with her aids!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Megan. That's good advice on not being afraid to describe a problem - it could be fixable.
Thanks again,

l1zblog said...

I would tell them when seeing their audiologist for fitting of hearing aids, that when they explain things to you. If your not sure, then ask. And ask again if you still don't follow.

As well as building up slowly wearing your hearing aids, and start wearing in quiet places, or places you can control like your home before venturing outside. Try listening to the water running from the tap and keys jangleing.

I remember it took a while with me, regarding keys.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Liz,
LOL - I still can't stand the sound of my keys jangling or water running in the sink. You brought up a good point - new sounds. I remember the sound of paper rustling bothering me a lot when I first got my hearing aids. It was especially distracting in church.
Thanks for your advice.

Danielle said...

Sarah- Wonderful article !!!!! Also tell your friend that there is a great organization HLAA and to join.

Danielle said...

I would tell this person.
1- Dont be afraid to ask questions
2- if you dont what a word means make sure the dr explains it to you.
3- write down questions you have to the dr this way when you go into the office you are not overwhelmed i just started doing this and it has helped me. She then writes on that paper for me. Such a great idea.

4- Make sure you are comfortable with the ear molds if not explain your reaction to the type of ear mold you have and try a different type of ear molds. Many people are allergic to the regular ear molds.Just like myself.

Best of luck to you!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Yes, you're right Danielle. Support groups are a wonderful way to meet other people who understand what you're going through.

I also like your idea of writing things down.

I'm glad you brought up the point about the ear molds. I don't have them on mine, so I didn't know that people could be allergic to the ear mold material.

Thanks, Danielle!!

Jonathan said...

Also, do have a bit of doubt that you may have been prescribed with the wrong hearing aids and wrong kind of ear molds.

Clues of the former include:
- not feeling like you're gaining a whole lot from your hearing aids (some hearing aids are for those with a mild hearing loss, which wouldn't suit me because my hearing loss is profound. My hearing aids wouldn't suit for someone with a mild hearing loss.) I think this issue happens more with those who have profound hearing losses and are being fitted with digital hearing aids that may or may not be suitable because their hearing losses are so profound. One of my friends has gone through this herself.

Clues of the latter include:
- squealing sounds
- no tight seals
- people hearing sounds coming out of your ears.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Jonathan,
I happen to know her loss is not profound so I hope that won't be an issue for her. Thanks for sharing your experience.
All the best,

kim said...

Great list Sarah! :-)

HOHCanadian said...

I thought squealing (feedback) was normal. All of my previous hearing aids squealed if I cupped my hands over my ears. I was thinking about wearing a t-shirt that said "When you hug me I squeal". My current Naidas don't but I think it has something to do with compression of high pitched sounds.

Glenice said...

Great article Sarah. Patience is very important when adjusting to hearing assistance of any type, aids or implants.

jelly said...

What a great tips and ideas from everyone!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi HOH Canadian,
Yes, you are right. Squealing is normal when you cover the aid with your hand or someone leans in too close (like for a hug) or for me when I put my parka's hood up. I think what Jonathan meant is feedback occuring due to an improper fit. I've had that happen when an eartube wasn't tightened on enough. Quite annoying.
Thanks for your comment,

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thank you Kim, Jelly and Glenice.