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All About Hearing Aids

Types and Styles of Hearing Aids continued...

Be sure to ask about any special features you want. Not all hearing aids have the same ones.

  • Directional microphones help you better respond to sound coming from a specific direction and help tune out background noise.
  • A telephone switch minimizes background noise and better picks up sounds from the phone. If you can find this system, it can help with hearing in theaters, auditoriums, and churches.
  • Direct audio input allows you to plug in a remote microphone or FM assistive listening system or to connect directly to a TV or other device.

Other types of special hearing aids are also available for specific types of hearing loss. For example, one type uses a bone vibrator for people without an ear canal or outer ear. Others may be attached to glasses. Also, ask about other devices that may help your hearing aids in certain settings.

Adjusting to and Caring for Hearing Aids

It's important to understand that your hearing aid cannot restore hearing as it once was. But with regular use, you will become more aware of sounds and where they are coming from.

When you first get your hearing aids, be patient. It may take some time to get used to them. In most states, you are allowed a trial period after buying your hearing aids. Then, if yours don't work out for you, you may receive a partial refund and try a type that works better for you. Also ask about warranty coverage.

Take time to learn how your hearing aids work and insist on a good fit. Work closely with your audiologist to minimize any problems such as:

  • Slight discomfort
  • Echo-like sounds from your own voice
  • Feedback or a whistling sound
  • Background noise
  • Buzzing with cell phone use

It may help to start wearing your hearing aids in quiet areas and to keep a diary about your experiences.

Your hearing aids will last much longer if you take good care of them. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your hearing aids away from heat, moisture, hair care products, children, and pets.
  • Clean the hearing aid as directed.
  • Turn off your hearing aids when you are not using them and replace dead batteries right away. Hearing aid batteries may last from several days to a couple of weeks. Battery life depends on the battery type, hearing aid power requirements, and how often the hearing aid is used with assistive listening devices.
  • In general, hearing aids have a life expectancy of 3 to 6 years. You may need a new hearing aid sooner if your hearing loss is progressive. Behind-the-ear hearing aids have more flexibility since they can be programmed for a wider range of hearing loss.

Because digital hearing aids are built with computer technology, they get stronger and better every few years as technology improves. This often prompts people to upgrade their hearing aids.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Shelley A. Borgia, CCCA on January 24, 2014
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