10 questions and answers about hearing aids

1. How do I know if I need a hearing aid?

The first step is to have your hearing tested by an audiologist, who will then explain the results to you and offer recommendations. If your hearing isn’t surgically or medically correctable, then hearing aids will be recommended. We’ll go over your needs, lifestyle, noise situations, and answer all your questions so you will feel comfortable with the choice.

2. Some of my friends have them and say they don’t work. How will I know mine

will? We take into account what the area of biggest concern about your hearing is, and then work from there. We will program the aids so they sound good to you, but also explain that you’ll hear things differently than you did before. We’ll make every effort to make sure you’re hearing well and comfortably. However, some people do have problems with hearing aids and can’t wear them. In those instances, we’ll try an alternative solution.

3. Hearing aids are expensive. Will my insurance cover it?

While some plans do have partial coverage for hearing aids, most do not. If you are concerned about the cost, we can discuss different plans or payment options to help you.

4. What happens after I decide to get hearing aids?

The fitting is scheduled, and we will then go over everything you never knew you needed to know about hearing aids! We’ll program the aids to your hearing loss, show you how to change batteries, adjust volume if needed, and counsel you on what to expect and how to get the most out of your investment.

5. My voice sounds really weird. Will this go away?

Yes, everybody who gets hearing aids for the first time notices this. It’s called “occlusion” and you’re hearing your voice differently because there is now something in your ears. This typically goes away after a couple of weeks, and if not, we can adjust for that in the programming software.

6. Why does everything sound so tinny?

When you have a hearing loss in the high frequencies, which is where most people do, the brain perceives these amplified sounds as sharp or tinny. This area is critical for speech clarity and understanding, so we want that sound to be there. However, if it’s too much, we can also adjust for this in the fitting software so it sounds more comfortable. We’ll then add it back once the brain adapts.

7. How often do I have to change batteries?

Batteries need to be changed every 7-14 days, depending on the size of the battery and how much you wear the aids. The hearing aid will give you an audible signal when it’s time to change. If batteries concern you due to eyesight, finger dexterity, or you don’t want to do that, we now have rechargeable batteries, which typically last 24 hours or so on a single charge.

8. How long will my hearing aids last?

With care and regular appointments (every 6 months) for maintenance, they can last 5-7 years, or even longer. I’ve had people bring their aids in that were over 20 years old, and still working! (They weren’t right for their hearing loss now, but that’s another blog)

9. Do I really need 2 hearing aids?

The brain needs sound and stimulation from both sides of the head to hear well in quiet and noise, to separate the speech from the noise, and to tell distance and location of sounds - birds, cars, kids, sirens, etc. We’ll always recommend 2 hearing aids if you have hearing loss in both ears.

10. Do batteries expire?

Yes, batteries have a 4 year shelf life. If you purchase batteries from us, you’ll have fresh batteries. If you purchase over the counter batteries, check the expiration date on the back of the card. It should be 3-4 years out from the current year. ** Fun Fact** - do you know how to tell if a battery is good or not? Drop it on the table - a good battery lands and doesn’t move, and a bad battery bounces. Try it - it’s pretty fun!

11. Can I sleep, shower and mow the lawn with my hearing aids?

Please don’t. They could come off while you sleep and be lost in the sheets, they’re water resistant but not waterproof, and if you mow you need to wear hearing protection, not amplification!

12. Do I have to tell my friend and co-workers now that I have hearing aids?

We would encourage you not to hide your hearing loss or hearing aids. Chances are, they already know you don’t hear well, and by wearing hearing aids, it shows that you’re taking care of your health. This could also encourage someone who was hesitant about it to give it a try themselves!

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