Hearing Aids and Realistic Expectations

Hearing aids can help people hear and understand better, however, it is extremely important for people to have realistic expectations. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you develop appropriate expectations about what your devices can and cannot do for you. Below are some tips from the Better Hearing Institute to make your adjustment period as smoothly as possible.

  • Restore hearing. No matter how technically advanced, in most cases devices cannot restore your hearing to normal, except in some very mild losses.
  • Types of devices. Not all hearing aids perform the same with every type of loss.
  • Understanding in noise. No hearing aid has been designed that will filter out all background noise. Some can reduce amplification of some types of background noise or make you more comfortable in the presence of noise. The most effective solution for improving speech intelligibility in noisy situations is devices with directional microphones. When directional hearing aids are coupled with digital signal processing, you can be assured that your aids are optimized for improving your quality of life in noisy environments.
  • Fit and comfort. Since you are purchasing custom hearing aids, you should expect the fit to be comfortable; ideally you should not even know they are in your ears. There should not be any soreness, bleeding, or rashes associated with your wearing them. If there is go back to your hearing healthcare provider.
  • Sounds. Hearing aids should allow you to: (1) hear soft sounds (e.g. child’s voice, soft speech) that you could not hear without amplification; this is part of the enjoyment of them; (2) prevent loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud for you-but very loud sounds that are uncomfortable to normal hearing people may also be uncomfortable for you.
  • Whistling and feedback. It is normal for devices to squeal or whistle when you are inserting them into your ear (if you do not have a volume control to shut it off). If it squeals after the initial insertion, then most likely you have an inadequate fit, and should tell your provider.
  • Your friend’s hearing aid. Do not expect your friend’s hearing device to work for you.
  • Your family doctor. Do not expect your family doctor to be knowledgeable about loss, brands of devices and whether or not you need them. Data shows that only 13% of physicians screen for that.
  • Expect benefit. Expect your devices to provide benefit to you during the trial period. By benefit, I mean that your ability to understand speech has demonstrably improved in the listening situations important to you (within realistic expectations though). This is what you hoped for, and you should expect benefit. If you do not experience an improvement, then work with your provider to see if the instrument can be adjusted to meet your specific needs. Never purchase any device that does not give you sufficient benefit.
  • Satisfaction guarantee. Expect to be satisfied with your aids; expect the quality of your life to improve.
  • Trial period. Expect a 30-day trial period with a money-back guarantee if you are not receiving a benefit (there might be a small nonrefundable portion for some services rendered).
  • Adjustment period. Give your devices a chance, being sure to follow the instructions of your provider. Most people need a period of adjustment (called acclimatization) before deriving the maximum benefit (even up to four months).

Call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™  today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive screening with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.

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