How To Use Hearing Aids: The Do's & Don'ts
Hearing aids can be life-changing devices for individuals with hearing loss, helping them reconnect with the world of sound and communicate effectively. However, to make the most of these valuable tools, it's essential to understand the proper way to use and care for them. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the do's and don'ts of how to use hearing aids, offering valuable insights on their correct usage, maintenance, and cleaning practices. Whether you're a new hearing aid user or seeking to improve your current routine, this article aims to provide you with practical tips to ensure your hearing aids serve you well for years to come.
Do: Consult with a Hearing Healthcare Professional
Before starting your journey with hearing aids, it is crucial to consult with a qualified hearing healthcare professional. They will conduct a comprehensive hearing evaluation to determine the extent and type of your hearing loss. Based on the evaluation results, they will recommend the most suitable hearing aid type and settings to address your specific needs. A professional fitting ensures the hearing aids are adjusted accurately for optimal sound perception and comfort.
Don't: Neglect Regular Hearing Aid Maintenance
Regular maintenance is essential to keep your hearing aids functioning optimally. Create a maintenance routine and follow it diligently. Keep them clean and dry, and always handle them with clean hands. Avoid exposing hearing aids to excessive heat, moisture, or chemicals, as they can damage the delicate components. Regularly check and replace the batteries, if applicable, and keep spare batteries on hand.
Do: Start Slowly and Gradually Increase Usage
If you're a new hearing aid user, it's essential to give yourself time to adjust to the new sounds. Start by wearing your hearing aids in quiet and familiar environments, gradually increasing usage in noisier settings. This gradual acclimatization allows your brain to adapt to the amplified sounds, making the transition smoother.
Don't: Ignore Feedback or Unusual Noises
If you notice feedback or whistling sounds from your hearing aids, it could indicate a poor fit or other issues. Similarly, any unusual noises or sudden changes in sound quality should not be ignored. Contact your hearing healthcare professional for an assessment and necessary adjustments.
Do: Use Hearing Aids Consistently
Consistent use of hearing aids is crucial for experiencing their full benefits. Wear them throughout your waking hours to maximize speech understanding and auditory stimulation. Regular usage also helps maintain the brain's ability to process sound effectively.
Don't: Forget to Turn Off Hearing Aids
When not in use, turn off your hearing aids to conserve battery power. Open the battery compartment to break the circuit and prevent battery drain. If your hearing aids are rechargeable, follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper charging and storage.
Do: Practice Effective Communication Strategies
Hearing aids enhance your ability to hear, but effective communication involves more than just wearing them. Practice active listening, maintain eye contact, and inform conversation partners about your hearing loss to ensure better communication experiences.
Don't: Modify Hearing Aid Settings Without Professional Guidance
Resist the temptation to adjust the settings of your hearing aids without professional guidance. Hearing aids are precisely programmed to suit your specific hearing needs. Making unauthorized adjustments can disrupt the optimal performance of the devices.
Do: Protect Hearing Aids During Physical Activities
During physical activities or sports, take precautions to protect your hearing aids from sweat and impacts. Consider using specially designed accessories, such as sweatbands or protective covers, to shield them from moisture and potential damage.
Don't: Use Hair Products or Cosmetics While Wearing Hearing Aids
Avoid using hair products, such as hairspray or gels, while wearing hearing aids, as they can seep into the device and cause damage. Similarly, avoid applying cosmetics, like lotions or powders, around the ear area to prevent residue buildup.
Do: Remove Hearing Aids Before Bedtime
At the end of the day, take out your hearing aids before going to bed. This allows your ears to have a rest and prevents unnecessary wear and tear on the devices. Store them in their designated case in a safe and dry place.
Don't: Neglect Professional Check-Ups
Regular visits to your hearing healthcare professional are essential for maintaining your hearing aids' longevity and performance. They can perform necessary maintenance, cleaning, and adjustments to keep your devices in top condition.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Hearing Aids
Proper cleaning is crucial to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your hearing aids. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your hearing aids:
Cleaning the Hearing Aid Surface
Use a soft, dry cloth to gently clean the surface of the hearing aids. Avoid using water or cleaning solutions, as they can damage the devices. If necessary, use a specialized cleaning tool or brush provided by your hearing aid manufacturer to remove debris and wax buildup.
Changing the Wax Filters
Many hearing aids have wax filters to prevent earwax from entering the device. Regularly check the wax filters for any blockages and replace them according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Removing Earwax from Earpieces
For hearing aids that fit inside the ear canal, it's essential to keep the earpieces clean and free from earwax. Use the cleaning tools provided by your hearing aid manufacturer to remove any earwax gently.
Storing Your Hearing Aids
When not in use, store your hearing aids in their designated case. Make sure the case is kept in a safe, dry place, away from heat and moisture.
Protecting from Moisture
Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of hearing aids, as it can cause malfunctions and damage the delicate electronic components. To safeguard your hearing aids from moisture-related issues, it's essential to take specific precautions and incorporate protective measures into your daily routine.
Keep Hearing Aids Dry
Whenever you remove your hearing aids, be mindful of where you place them. Avoid leaving them in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens. Never expose them to water, rain, or humidity, and be cautious when using hairspray, lotions, or other products that could potentially come into contact with the devices.
Use Hearing Aid Sweatbands
For individuals who lead an active lifestyle or engage in physical activities, investing in hearing aid sweatbands can be beneficial. These specialized accessories wrap around the hearing aids, providing an extra layer of protection against sweat during workouts, outdoor activities, or hot weather.
Hearing Aid Dehumidifier or Drying Kit
Consider using a hearing aid dehumidifier or drying kit regularly. These devices are designed to remove moisture buildup from hearing aids overnight. By placing the hearing aids in the dehumidifier or drying kit, any accumulated moisture is effectively drawn out, helping to prevent potential damage.
Silica Gel Packets
Place silica gel packets in your hearing aid storage case to absorb excess moisture. These packets are commonly found in product packaging and can be reused to help keep the environment inside the storage case dry.
Rotate Multiple Sets of Hearing Aids
If you have multiple sets of hearing aids, rotate their usage regularly. This allows the previously worn pair to thoroughly dry out while you use the other set. By alternating between sets, you reduce the chances of moisture accumulation and prolong the lifespan of each hearing aid.
Remove Batteries When Not in Use
If you won't be using your hearing aids for an extended period, such as during vacations or overnight, consider removing the batteries. This prevents any accidental activation and reduces the risk of moisture-related issues.
Open Battery Doors at Night
For hearing aids with disposable batteries, opening the battery doors at night allows air to circulate and facilitates drying. Just remember to remove the batteries first to avoid accidental activation.
Take Extra Care in High Humidity Environments
If you live in a region with high humidity levels or plan to visit such an area, take extra precautions to protect your hearing aids. Consider using a hearing aid dehumidifier more frequently or invest in additional moisture protection accessories.
By incorporating these moisture protection practices into your hearing aid care routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of moisture-related damage and ensure that your devices continue to function optimally. Remember that prevention is key, and taking proactive steps to protect your hearing aids from moisture will contribute to their longevity and your overall satisfaction with these invaluable devices.
Regular Professional Check-Ups
Regular professional check-ups are also crucial for maintaining the optimal performance of your hearing aids. Hearing healthcare professionals can conduct thorough cleanings, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that your devices are in top condition, providing you with the best hearing experience possible.
Hearing aids are valuable tools that can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss. By following the do's and don'ts of using hearing aids and maintaining them properly, you can ensure that your devices serve you well for many years. Regular professional check-ups, consistent usage, and effective communication strategies will enhance your hearing experience and allow you to enjoy the benefits of improved communication and social interaction. Remember, proper care and attention to your hearing aids will lead to a world of enriched auditory experiences and a better quality of life.