If you've been recently diagnosed as having some form of hearing loss, the entire process afterward can be unsettling and uncertain. Being able to speak with your audiologist or otolaryngologist for answers about what to expect is a priority. If your doctor has prescribed hearing aids for long term use, it can be challenging to know how they work, how to operate them and how to pay for them. Make sure to request a consultation with the audiologist in relation to your new hearing aids. Here are some important things to consider when you're at your appointment.
Getting The Right Fit
A main concern when getting new hearing aids is that they have a snug and secure fit. There are several variations and models of hearing aids on the market that are all designed meet your needs and budget. Three of the main design types include:
- In-The Ear
The most common hearing aids are the behind-the-ear varieties. They can be adjusted to fit the shape of your ear and are often the most affordable variety. They are discreet and work with moderate to severe hearing loss.
In-the-canal models fit snugly, directly in the ear canal. They are designed for people who have minimal hearing loss in the ear. They must be custom designed to fit properly in your ear canal. Some models fit in the canal entirely—offering a sense of privacy. They can be pricey, but are a more discreet option than other aids worn outside of the ear.
In-the-ear hearing aids are similar to in-the-canal models, except a small portion of the device goes inside of the ear. Your doctor will decide if this type of hearing aid is best for you and your diagnosis.
Each type of hearing aid has different capabilities and additions that can be tailored to fit what you are looking for. Your audiologist will go over what your needs are and help you find an aid that meets that criteria.
Caring For Your Hearing Aids
Part of hearing aid education is learning how to care for them properly. Batteries will need to be replaced frequently, so it's important to know when they are beginning to fail. Buzzing and squeaking noises are early indicators that there may be a problem with the devices and that they need servicing. Most hearing aids need to be kept dry, so you'll need to know how to remove and store them properly.
Using Hearing Aids Correctly
Getting your hearing aid adjusted is something that will be done initially in the audiologist's office. But what happens when you get home? Part of an educational session on your hearing aid will require how to use them and adjust them so that you can hear through variations of sound tones that your ear will receive. It may take several adjustments to get the right hearing assistance and the right fit. In many cases, it can take up to six weeks for your hearing aid to begin to sound normal to you.
Paying For Your Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be expensive, and insurance may not even cover half of the overall costs of the devices. Part of your hearing aid counseling will include applying for credit, or setting up a payment plan to pay off the balance of the hearing aids. You may also want to consider getting warranty or insurance coverage to help cover the cost of replacement should the hearing aids break or become lost.
Educating yourself on your hearing aid instrument is the best way to be proactive about your ear health.