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Frequently Asked Questions about Hearing Aids

Q. Are hearing aids difficult to maintain?

The most difficult part of maintaining your hearing instrument is not losing them! They can be quite tiny and easy to misplace, so make sure that whenever you take them out of your ear, you returning them to their case.

The other aspects of maintenance are not too difficult or intrusive to handle. For example, opening the battery door when you take your devices out at night will help their batteries last longer.

Moisture and earwax buildup are the two biggest reasons for repairs on hearing devices, so cleaning them regularly can save a lot of hassle. The best (and the easiest) way to do this is by purchasing a cleaning and drying kit. Putting your devices into the kit at night will remove moisture while also killing germs and bacteria. You can also use a clean, gentle cloth to wipe excess dust and earwax off.

Q. What are some common challenges when adjusting to hearing aids?

When you have untreated hearing loss, your brain gets accustomed to its current hearing ability. It forgets what it’s like to hear at a normal volume. For this reason, sounds can seem startlingly loud or unnatural when you first start using hearing aids. However, this doesn’t last long. The more you use your new devices, the more quickly your brain can readjust and define a “new” normal.

Click here for some tips to use in order to adjust to hearing aids more easily.

Q. Do hearing aids set off metal detectors?

Since the majority of the parts in hearing aids are plastic, they shouldn’t set off any metal detectors.

If you’re at an airport and they ask you to remove your devices so that they can be x-rayed, you can tell the TSA official that you’d prefer to have a manual, physical inspection of the devices. Visit www.tsa.gov for more information.

Q. Do microwave ovens interfere with hearing aids?

No. If it were possible for a microwave to interfere with electronics, then this would also be an issue with things like cell phones. However, for no reason should you ever put your hearing aid inside a microwave.

Q. Will hearing aids help me earn more money at work?

Yes! When you can hear better, you feel more empowered in all areas of life—including at work. Using hearing aids can boost your self-confidence, personal happiness, interpersonal skills, and overall health. This can definitely help you improve your job performance and secure a higher income.

However, it goes both ways. A national study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found that those who do not treat their hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 annually. Make an appointment with your local EarQ provider to address any hearing loss today.

Q. What is an ear impression?

An ear impression is a silicone-based mold made from the exact shape of your ear or ear canal. It’s needed in order to create in-the-ear, in-the-canal, or completely-in-the-canal hearing aids, as well as things like custom-fit earplugs or swimmer’s plugs.

The process for making an ear mold is not painful or difficult. Your hearing health professional will place the soft, doughy material into your ear and let it sit for a few minutes and mold into shape. Once it has hardened, he or she will remove the material and have a completely accurate model of your ear to send to the hearing aid manufacturer.

Q. Is it okay to use cotton swabs to clean my ears?

Unless you're using the cotton swab to clean the very outside of your ear, the part that sticks out from your head, the answer is no. Believe it or not, your ear canal is self-cleaning, and a little earwax actually helps to keep dirt from getting to the important parts of the ear.

You may be wondering, how exactly is my ear canal self-cleaning? There's a layer of tissue that lines the length of your ear canal and grows outward at about the same pace as your hair or nails. Dirt, bacteria, fungus, and other unwanted matter are captured on this tissue and over time, pushed back to the outside before it gets to the area of your ear that could be damaged from this material. When you use a cotton swab to clean your ear, you're damaging the tissue that is doing the job better than any cotton swab could!

Besides the fact that swabbing is making your ear less healthy, you can actually be pushing wax deeper into the ear canal to a point that is unreachable by the cotton swab, and it may start to affect your hearing.

Q. Common problems adjusting to hearing aids

The thing about hearing loss is that it's not just a problem that resides in the ears, but also in the brain. The auditory cortex in the brain adjusts and copes when someone has hearing loss. So when a hearing aid is used and sounds are sent to the brain at a closer to normal volume and clearness, the brain can react in almost a surprised way. The surprised brain will result in things sounding too loud, or the tone of your voice sounding like you're talking in a barrel. Things like the sound of the wind might even be alarming to you at first, since it's been a while since you've been able to clearly hear them. Don't worry though, this will go away. The brain will adjust, and everything will start to sound normal again. But be patient, and realize that the more you wear your hearing aids the more your brain will get used to it. We recommend wearing your hearing aids for a few hours the first day and add an hour a day until you're wearing them most of the time that you are awake. Strike up conversations to see how it feels to be speaking to someone. Wait a few weeks until you try them out in a noisy environment as it can be overwhelming for new users at first.

Q. Tips for getting used to wearing hearing aids

 • When you first get your hearing aids, only wear them where you're the most comfortable.
 • If you're uncomfortable, don't press yourself. Wear them only as long as you feel you can.
 • The best way to test them out is to try using them while you're having a conversation.
 • Do not get discouraged when you're not hearing perfectly – even people with normal hearing don't hear everything.
 • Background noise will be overwhelming at first, don't let it get to you.
 • Do exercises like figuring out where something is only by the sound it makes, or relearning to discriminate between different sounds of speech.
 • Loud sounds will be jarring at first. Take it slow when trying to increase your tolerance.
 • Listen to some books on tape
 • Gradually start wearing them in group environments

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