All About Hearing Aids: A Guide for First-Time Users
Buying a hearing aid for the first time can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure where to begin. There are a number of things to bear in mind when picking the right device for your needs. In this article, we will guide you through the key factors you have to consider when shopping for the first time – from speaking to a hearing specialist for advice, to avoiding some of the biggest buying mistakes!
Understanding Your Own Hearing
Buying a hearing aid starts with thinking about your own needs. When do you truly know if you need a professional hearing aid? Before you purchase hearing aids online or at the local store, it is, of course, recommended that you speak to an audiologist. However, it’s a good idea to think about your auditory symptoms before you make an appointment.
How do you know that you need a hearing aid?
- You find you are straining to hear people in close conversations
- You are experiencing annoying buzzing or ringing in your ears
- You struggle to understand people unless you are face-to-face
- You strain to filter out background noise
- You increase the volume on your TV or speakers above comfortable levels for other people
- You struggle to enjoy social occasions as a result of the above
Finding a Local Audiologist
Before you leap into buying hearing aids outright, you should always speak with a hearing specialist first. Hearing aids can be expensive if you don’t need them – which is why you should get professional advice without delay.
- Book a doctor appointment to discuss your concerns before you contact an audiologist to evaluate further. Your hearing problems may be related to issues that hearing aids may not be able to remedy.
- Book an appointment with a private audiologist.
- Do bear in mind that private consultations will incur additional fees. Therefore, don’t proceed with booking further unless you are comfortable.
- Always make sure you check a surgery or audiologist’s credentials and experience before you book in. Whether it’s a doctor’s recommendation or even word of mouth – to social media reviews – it is merely safe to carefully research.
- Before you attend an appointment, think carefully about some questions you’d like to ask. Some questions to ask an audiologist may include:
- What can be done to improve my hearing?
- Do I need hearing aids?
- How much do hearing aids cost?
- Are there other avenues of care or support I should take?
- Your audiologist will then begin a thorough evaluation of your hearing, as well as explore options for remedies for you. As mentioned earlier, this may or may not involve hearing aids depending upon your circumstances.
Your Hearing Evaluation
Once you’ve booked in with an audiologist, they will take time to evaluate your hearing loss accurately. This set of procedures may differ from professional to professional, but may likely include the following:
- Standardized hearing tests
- Visual examinations
- Ear canal impressions
- Investigatory questioning
Your audiologist should make things as clear as possible for you with regard to your hearing loss. If there are any questions you may have about the evaluation process, never be afraid to ask. You may wish to ask your audiologist about what you can expect from potential remedies, too.
Buying the Right Hearing Aids
Whether you opt to purchase hearing aids online or in-store, it is essential to follow professional advice. Hearing aids no longer come in just one flavor or type! There is an extensive range of hearing supports available to choose from, and it is a good idea to request support from your specialist. Ask your consultant about the types of hearing aid technology which could benefit your situation the most.
Consider the following before you decide to buy hearing aids for the first time:
- What advice has your audiologist given you?
- What is your budget – what can you feasibly afford? Hearing aids offer lifelong support but come at an up-front cost which may not always be covered by medical insurance.
- With the above point in mind – what does your medical insurance cover?
- What level of technology do you need? Do you need to filter out background noise, or would you like advanced features – such as Bluetooth connectivity?
- Does your lifestyle demand features such as waterproofing or dual-ear communication?
Do you need additional support for conditions such as tinnitus (‘ringing in the ears’)?
Hearing aids are an investment. This is, even more, the case as your ability to hear is at stake! If you have consulted an audiologist, ask for a contract to outline your choices. Any professional hearing expert will be able to offer you buying options to your benefit.
Saving Money on Hearing Aids
Many people find that they spend too much money on hearing aids when they don’t need to. Consider the following while you are shopping and avoid some of the significant pitfalls when it comes to hearing aid costs:
- Only look for hearing aids within your budget – ones that stand to improve your hearing.
- Never opt-in for additional technology or functionality unless you need it. Many people, for example, opt-in for Bluetooth technology when they have no use for it!
- Always read product reviews and ask professional advice on devices available to buy. While it is often good to lead with your gut instinct, a hearing aid is a serious investment!
Fitting Your Hearing Aids
First-time hearing aid users should also understand that installing the devices themselves is hardly recommended. A professional audiologist will be able to use impressions of your ear canal to find your perfect fit – and it is, always recommended that you consult your specialist to make sure your equipment is comfortable.
In most cases, the first fitting should be ideal for most hearing aid users. However, there may be some circumstances where you start to feel your fitting to become loose or aggravating. Should these moments arise, always ensure you book in with your audiologist.
While many people may leave with their hearing aids and be happy and comfortable for life, there may be opportunities for you to return to your audiologist. In all cases, it’s recommended you return to your specialist every once in a while for a variety of reasons.
- Your condition may have changed – improved or worsened – and you may need a new evaluation.
- You may be finding your hearing aids uncomfortable.
- You may find your hearing aids to no longer provide you with the support you need.
- You may be experiencing pain from your hearing aids.
In any case, discomfort or functionality problems suggest you need to speak to your audiologist about an adjustment. It is worth remembering that your first appointment is not the only time you’ll have access to a specialist! Always reach out to your professional if you need to follow-up on your fitting and hearing aid usage. It can and will take time for you to adapt fully, but do get back in touch if you experience long-term discomfort.
Your audiologist will run through the various features of your hearing aids upon fitting and purchase. They will be able to help you to access facilities that can help to enhance your hearing experience, too. These may include:
- Induction loops – systems which can be found in public places to assist with hearing clarity
- Wireless media systems
- Apps and programs
- FM systems
- Bluetooth connectivity
You should also remember that you never have to feel pressurized into taking on any additional technology or advice you don’t feel comfortable with!
Finally, always remember that you will have certain rights once you’ve fitted and bought your hearing aids.
- Learn about the returns policy. If you find that you do not benefit from the hearing aids you have fitted, you will be able to change your mind and receive a refund or refit.
- Your hearing aid will come with a warranty. That means, should it develop a fault or fail to work correctly during its lifetime; you may be able to claim for a refund or refit. Your specialist will offer you warranty advice – on what is covered, and how you can make a claim.
If it is your first time as a hearing aid user, help is always at hand! Always consult a professional to find the best technology and fit for you. The team at Best Hearing Aid are here to support you in finding relief for your hearing loss. Call us today on (870) 331-8518 to learn more and book an appointment with our specialists!