If you’re ready for a set of hearing aids, good for you! Hearing loss is a reality for about one-third of those aged 60–74, and half of those 75 and up. The best thing you can do when hearing loss becomes a part of your life is to seek treatment as soon as possible! Earlier treatment means an easier adjustment period, and a significantly decreased likelihood that you’ll experience any of the negative outcomes associated with untreated hearing loss.
Not to mention: You’ll be able to hear better! Treating hearing loss isn’t just about avoiding the negative—it’s about leaning into the positive! Those who wear hearing aids are able to enjoy a conversation with friends, even when background noise is present. They tend to get more physical exercise, and tend to be more optimistic, confident, and self-reliant. In short, hearing aids help you live your life the way you want to live it, so congratulations on taking the first steps on your journey toward better hearing!
Your hearing care provider should ask you questions about your lifestyle and the things that are important to you. That helps them to get an idea of the things you’ll need your hearing aids to do, which in turn helps them recommend the set of hearing aids that will be most likely to work best for you. While your hearing care provider will surely be a big help, it doesn’t hurt to come prepared to make an informed decision. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your hearing care experience.
Bring a Buddy
Whether it’s your spouse, sibling, friend, or other relative, it’s always a good idea to bring someone along when you visit your hearing care provider. They can help you to paint the most vivid picture of your daily activities, which will help your hearing care provider understand what you need to get out of your hearing aids. At the same time, you’ll be given a lot of information to sort through, and two heads remember more than one!
Scout Out a Good Provider
Check online reviews, and ask around with friends or relatives who may already be wearing hearing aids. If a provider’s clients have felt pressured or rushed, or if follow-up care left something to be desired, it’s best to keep looking! Hearing aids are a considerable investment, and you should be careful to find a provider who can be trusted to work with you until your hearing aids provide a satisfactory experience.
Know Your Priorities
There are as many hearing needs and lifestyles as there are people with hearing loss! Think about the things that are important to you in advance of your visit. Do you need to be able to jog with your hearing aids in? Do you like to spend time socializing in public, or are you more of a homebody? Do your hearing aids need to assist you with hearing the television, the sermon at church, or lectures at the museum? Having a good idea of the specific situations where you need help hearing will allow your hearing care provider to help you make a more informed decision.
Ask for a “Test Drive”
Your hearing care provider can fit a disposable tip on a set of hearing aids, program them based on the results of your hearing test, and let you hear how they’ll sound. You should be able to try out a few different models to find the hearing aids that sound best to you!
Tele-coils are useful in many public places, or if you plan to have a hearing loop installed in your home or car. Manufacturers’ wireless microphones can be helpful when you’re in public spaces with your spouse or a friend. TV adapters are also popular add-ons. But think about what you might really need. And remember, you can always come back for an assistive listening device (ALD) down the road if you think it would be helpful.
Take the Training Classes
We hear with our brains as much as our ears! Especially if you’ve been living with hearing loss for a while, training classes can be of real help in adjusting to your hearing aids and getting reaccustomed to the world of sound!