Q. Do I have to wear my hearing aids all the time?
You will find the most success and satisfaction from your devices if you wear them during most of the hours that you’re awake (don’t wear them swimming or in the shower). This consistency will help your brain adjust to the new amplification. In order to let your ears breathe and to save the battery life of your device, you should take your devices out while you are asleep.
We’re betting once you hear all of the sounds you've been missing, you won't want to take them out!
Q. Do you have any tips for getting used to wearing hearing aids?
Yes! Here are several tips to help your ears and your brain get accustomed to your new 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 use 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, but don't let it get to you.
• Loud sounds will be jarring at first. Take it slowly while you increase your tolerance.
• Gradually start wearing them in group environments.
• Do some exercises to help yourself adjust. Some examples:
° Close your eyes and try to figure out where something is only by the sound it makes.
° Close your eyes and try to discriminate between different sounds of speech.
° Listen to some books on tape while you follow along in a print copy
° Watch television with subtitles
Q. How and when should I clean my hearing aids?
Clean your hearing aids regularly because earwax can build up and cause damage. It’s also important to keep them away from heat and moisture. You can get a cleaning and drying kit to help you do all of this. When they’re not in use, turn them off and put them in the case that comes with the kit. It will remove moisture and kill germs and bacteria.
Q. Can I prevent my hearing aids from being affected by earwax?
Most of the time, a little bit of wax in your hearing instrument is unavoidable, and they're designed to be okay in this situation. If earwax does build up to the point where it’s affecting the device’s performance, your EarQ provider can easily clean it.
Don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears, as this creates more problems than it solves. Your ear is self-cleaning, and a little bit of wax is normal. However, you can clean your ears with a damp washcloth wrapped around your finger. Your finger shouldn’t go into your ear canal, as that will run the risk of damaging parts of your ear.
Q. Does my hearing aid come with a warranty?
Most hearing aids do come with some sort of warranty. It's always a good idea to make sure you understand your warranty at the time of purchase. The security of knowing that repairs are covered at no cost will give you the peace of mind to use them without worry.
All EarQ-branded hearing aids come with our Secure Warranty, which is the longest warranty in the United States.
Q. What if I lose my hearing aids?
If your hearing aids get lost and they’re still under warranty, contact your provider. Many manufacturer warranties will replace a lost hearing aid within two years after you’ve purchased the device, but it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Q. What if my hearing aid irritates the skin in my ear?
It’s fairly common to have some irritation in the ear canal while you’re getting used to wearing hearing devices, but if the problem persists, there are a few things you can do.
Make sure you’re keeping your devices and ear molds clean and dry. If you don’t, they can be ripe for bacteria and fungus. A low-grade bacterial or fungal infection can be a source of itchiness and irritation. Check your ear canal for any scratches or cuts. An ear mold in the canal can make a scratch or cut hard to heal, causing irritation.
Otherwise, you may be experiencing an allergy to the color or tint of the material. Speak to your EarQ provider about getting a hypo-allergenic ear mold.
Q. What are the treatment options for hearing loss?
If hearing loss is originating from the outer portion of the ear, such as from wax buildup, then a simple medical procedure may give the person a drastic improvement. However, the most common hearing loss originates from damage to the nerve in the inner ear. Unfortunately, nerve damage is permanent, and wearing a hearing device is the best option currently available. The benefits that hearing aids provide to the wearer’s psychological as well as physical health have been well-researched and reviewed.
Learn more about the different types of hearing loss and their causes here.
Q. When should I get hearing aids?
It’s the nature of most types of hearing loss to continue degenerating, and it’s your decision to have your hearing loss treated with a hearing device or not, but all of the side effects of hearing loss are going to continue to negatively affect your quality of life. Untreated hearing loss leads to depression, feelings of social isolation, and relationship strains with loved ones. Important moments in your life and your loved ones’ lives will be missed until treatment is sought. Why wait and allow it to get worse?
Schedule an appointment with your local EarQ provider to get started.
Q. How do hearing aids work?
It used to be that hearing aids worked exactly how you imagined they worked—a microphone picked up sound, the hearing aid made it louder, and a speaker projected it into the ear. Those hearing aids are considered ancient relics today. Simply making noise louder for someone with hearing loss doesn’t help with making sound crisper or cleaner, and this amplification can be uncomfortable for the wearer. On a basic level, today’s hearing aids still receive sound through a microphone and still transmit it into the ear through a speaker. The difference lies in what happens to that sound after it has been received and before it has been transmitted.
When something is digital, it means that incoming signals (whether sounds or images) are converted into numbers that are then processed using complicated mathematical equations called algorithms. Instead of computer chips dealing with bulkier modes of information, digital signals can be broken down into minute parts that are manipulated much easier. For hearing aids, this means that when the chip in a device receives digital information, it uses complex algorithms to manipulate the sound. As a result, it’s possible for a hearing device to keep the sounds that are important and eliminate the sounds that are not. This technology is so complex that it can actually reduce background noise in the tiny pauses between syllables of speech. It also means that the hearing instrument has multiple settings that can be changed. If someone’s hearing loss worsens, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she has to get a new hearing device; the existing one can be reprogrammed for the current hearing loss. Devices can also be programmed to adjust to a user’s different common environments.
There are talented individuals working on research and development of hearing instrument technology that will surpass the amazing strides it has already taken. This may sound very complex, but for the wearer, it is an unseen process that lends itself to a completely effortless listening experience.
Learn more about hearing aid features here.
Q. What are the differences in hearing aid styles?
BTE: One type of hearing aid is called a BTE device, which stands for behind-the-ear. Just like it sounds, this type of device has the majority of its parts resting behind the ear. Coming from the piece behind the ear is a small, clear plastic tube that is connected to the part that rests in the ear. For BTE hearing aids, the wearer can either have a custom ear mold (the part that sends the sound to the ear is shaped to the ear canal) or a tiny speaker piece that goes in the ear canal. While many people may think that this type of hearing aid means that there are more parts visible from the outside that make the device look unattractive and obvious, BTE devices today are quite small. There are also noted benefits to having the majority of the parts being outside of the ear canal. Repairs are needed less since the device isn’t as susceptible to moisture and wax damage that can happen inside of the ear canal. There’s also more room for all the amazing technology that goes into them, allowing for manual controls of volume, muting, programming, etc.
ITE: ITE stands for in-the-ear. This means that the entire hearing device rests in the ear canal. To ensure the hearing aid fits properly in the ear, a mold of the ear canal is taken for creation of a custom shape. While this customization is available in a few different styles of hearing aids, ITEs are the largest of the custom instruments. It may be more visible, but only marginally so, and that allows more technology to be included in the device.
ITC: In-the-canal hearing aids are another type that utilizes the custom ear mold so that it is created in the shape of your ear canal. Smaller than ITEs, they have less power so are not suitable for the highest level of hearing loss. These may be a little more challenging to use for those with dexterity difficulties.
CIC: Extremely small in size, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) devices fit farther into the ear canal, making them much less visible from the outside. Their small size may seem like an upside, but the user must have fairly good dexterity to insert and remove these from the ear, and most of the time, the wearer will not be able to manually control the volume. View pictures and learn about features of the above hearing device styleshere.
Click here to create a customized list of hearing aid styles for you.
Q. Do all hearing aids work the same way?
Essentially, hearing aids receive sound through a microphone and transmit it into your ear through a speaker, but the difference is in what happens to that sound after it’s received and before it’s transmitted. If your hearing range makes it especially difficult in noisy environments to understand speech, your hearing aid may use noise reduction technology. There are dozens of different features and capabilities that may be available for your hearing device; it all depends on what your needs are.
Q. What if I purchase a hearing aid that I don't like?
If you decide your hearing aids aren’t the best match for you, your audiologist or licensed hearing healthcare specialist will listen to your concerns and recommend other options to better suit your needs. Many offices offer device trial periods so that you can wear the hearing aids in various environments and decide if they are a perfect fit.
Q. Will my hearing aids whistle?
While whistling used to be a real concern for hearing aid users in the past, today’s devices feature automatic feedback cancellation technology. That means you can enjoy the outdoors on a breezy day, get out on the dance floor, and enjoy the atmosphere of a busy restaurant without the worry of your devices whistling or squealing.
Q. Why does my voice sound strange while wearing my new hearing aids?
When you first start wearing hearing aids, there is an adjustment period. It takes your brain a little time to get used to hearing clearly again, and that includes hearing the sound of your own voice. Rest assured that this is completely normal, and it will fix itself after a short time.
Q. How do hearing aids help in noisy environments?
Have you ever been talking at a party and noticed that you could barely make out what the people around you were saying? This happens because of the background noise. Today’s hearing aids are equipped to cut through background noise and use directional microphones to help you focus on the sounds you want to hear.
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