If you’ve recently been diagnosed with hearing loss or have discovered that your hearing isn’t what it used to be, the thought of getting a hearing aid can feel overwhelming. While understanding and learning about the different types of devices on the market is important, knowing how to take steps toward finding the right type of device can also help you get started.
At Toronto Hearing , we are committed to helping our patients understand their options and make informed decisions when selecting a hearing device to suit their individual needs. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through 6 essential steps when considering your first set of hearing aids – from researching available technology and services to adjusting and caring for your new hearing aids. Let’s get started!
1. Make an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test and hearing aid evaluation.
The first step in the hearing aid process is scheduling an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test and hearing aid evaluation. This will involve having your hearing examined by an audiologist to determine the degree of hearing loss and to assess physical characteristics of the ear canal to determine which hearing aids are suitable style-wise, and which hearing aids have an appropriate amplification range.
Discussing a person’s lifestyle is also a crucial part of the initial hearing aid journey. During the hearing test and consultation appointment, the audiologist will perform a needs-assessment. A needs assessment provides information to the audiologist about your lifestyle, health concerns that may affect hearing, manual dexterity to determine which type of hearing aid would be easier to insert, and what kinds of listening environments and social activities are important in your daily life.
A thorough consultation includes a hearing assessment, but also a detailed examination into the patient’s lifestyle to determine which hearing aids are appropriate to recommend. Once the consultation is complete, the audiologist can proceed to show you which hearing aids would be suitable.
2. Learn about the different types of hearing aids.
The second step in getting your first hearing aid is learning about the different styles and technology levels available, after having had your hearing and needs thoroughly assessed. There are several different styles of hearing aids, such as receiver-in-the canal (RIC) devices, completely-in-canal (CIC) devices, in-the-ear (ITE) devices, and more modern hearing aids, including an earbud style device. Each style can be ordered in a different technology level, ranging from entry level to premium. Hearing aids with more advanced technology have improved noise processing and therefore, are suitable for more complex listening environments.
Each type of hearing aid has its pros and cons depending on your lifestyle needs and degree of hearing loss, so it’s critical to make this decision with a qualified audiologist who can help you determine which type is best suited for your unique hearing profile. They will guide you through the process and often provide a demonstration to show you how the hearing aid will fit and sound in your ear. If you want to familiarize yourself with the most common types of hearing aids, click the link to visit our hearing aids page!
3. Go through a fitting appointment, and follow up appointments
When it comes to hearing aids, comfort is key. After all, you’ll be wearing them daily, so it’s crucial to ensure that the device fits as comfortably as possible and is fine-tuned appropriately to the hearing loss. Fortunately, the fit of modern hearing aids is extremely customizable!
Once your hearing aids have been selected, your audiologist will complete a fitting appointment. During the fitting appointment, the hearing aids are programmed according to your hearing loss. Physical characteristics such as the dome size, and wire size are selected to ensure that the device fits comfortably in your ear canal without blocking any sound pathways or causing discomfort when inserted or removed.
It may take a few visits before the audiologist finds the perfect fit or ideal sound for your hearing aids, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time – the effort you invest into getting your ideal hearing aid fit will pay dividends for many years to come!
4. Educate yourself on how to take care of your new hearing aids.
Hearing aids are extremely sensitive and precise devices – capable of picking up on tiny changes in sound at different frequencies. Thus, it’s essential that you learn how to care for your new device properly so that it can continue helping you for years into the future.
Caring for your hearing aids includes cleaning them regularly with a special brush designed to remove debris from the microphones, changing the batteries once a week if you have a battery operated hearing aid, or putting them in the charger daily if you are using a rechargeable hearing aid. Additionally, avoid exposing the hearing aids to excessive moisture, and store them appropriately when not in use. Avoid banging or dropping them onto hard surfaces, as this can damage the delicate electronic components inside the devices.
An audiologist who provides a thorough program of care will schedule an appointment every six months to clean the hearing aid microphones with a vacuum. Make sure not to miss those appointments as they ensure your hearing aids are in working order while also extending the life of your hearing aids.
5. Adjust to the sounds you’ll be hearing with your new hearing aids.
When using a hearing aid for the first time, many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed by all of the sounds that they otherwise weren’t able to hear before – particularly if their condition was severe enough that they were unable to detect any environmental sounds without an assistive listening device. Fortunately, after a brief adjustment period, this overwhelming feeling goes away, and using hearing aids can become as natural as breathing.
In order for your brain to get used to these basic environmental sounds again (e.g, water running, your footsteps, the sound of cutlery) – as well as amplified sounds like music – it is important to practice wearing your hearing aids regularly. Depending on your comfort level, you can start by only wearing them for short periods each day – gradually increasing usage over time until you’re comfortable doing so full-time. Naturally, your unique lifestyle demands will impact when and where you can wear your hearing aids; however, the more consistently the hearing aids are worn, the faster your brain will adapt to wearing them.
6. Celebrate your success in overcoming your hearing loss!
After following through with all five steps above successfully – congrats! You’re ready to live your life to the fullest with your newfound hearing health. You’re now free to enjoy your favourite music, have a conversation with your loved ones, and hear the birds chirping when you wake up in the morning!
You should feel proud of yourself for taking the steps towards improving your hearing and the quality of your life. Your audiologist will see you annually for a hearing test to ensure the hearing aids are fit appropriately, so you can continue to enjoy living (and hearing!)
Getting Hearing Aids Made Easy: Toronto Hearing
Getting hearing aids can feel like a big task, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. At Toronto Hearing Consultants, our team has helped many patients like you overcome their hearing loss and get back to living their full lives.
Let our audiologists help you get started on the path to better hearing – we’ll be with you every step of the way. Click the button below to contact us and get started today!