- Do your “homework” first: talk to other hearing aid wearers about their experiences with hearing aids and hearing clinics. Come to a Sound Advice Meeting. Read Choosing a hearing clinic.
- Arrange for a hearing test at a hearing clinic. You can see your doctor first to see if there are any medical conditions that have to dealt with first such as ear wax. The doctor in turn may refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist). The audiologist or HIP will refer you to your doctor if she/he suspects any medical issues.
- Discuss what brands, types and styles of hearing aid are available and which are suitable for your hearing loss. See Types of Hearing Aids. Your audiologist/HIP is the best person to tell you what type of hearing aid is best for your hearing loss. The type of hearing aid you get depends on
(1) your hearing loss and how much amplification you need;
(2) your lifestyle and areas where you want your hearing to improve;
(3) your own abilities in handling the different features of hearing aids.
- Discuss your hearing loss with your audiologist/HIP and have your audiogram explained to you. Be informed about your type of hearing loss. See What’s an Audiogram?
- Be prepared to talk openly about your hearing loss issues. Have a list of situations where you hear well and where you don’t hear well and where you would like to hear better. See the Lifestyles Checklist.
- Generally, each type of hearing aid comes in different models: from a low level just “bare bones” model to a high level model that requires a knowledge and need for
additional technology. The audiologist/HIP will explain some basic features:
• Where the battery goes. Changing batteries can be difficult with people with
dexterity problems. Rechargeable options are available with most hearing aids which eliminate the need to change batteries.
• Whether the hearing aid will have a dome or a mold.
• What the little toggle switch is used for: to change volume, to change programs,
- Assess your comfort level with technology and your need for the technology:
• A Tele-coil is essential if you go to venues with a loop system or you want to
enhance your ability to talk on the phone.
• Wireless connections are necessary to connect to the TV and cell phones.
• Remote controls help change programs in your hearing aids with greater ease.
• Remote microphones allow you to hear others in small groups.
See list of assistive devices.
- Ask questions about free trial periods, cost of batteries, warranties, product services, and assistive devices. Ask about seniors’ discounts and other organization discounts.
- Once you’ve got your aids, make sure you learn how to insert your hearing aids correctly. Make sure you know how to clean and store the aids. Ask about keeping your aids in a dehumidifier. See Caring for Your Hearing Aid.
- Ask about follow-up appointments and care of your hearing aids. These are important for your hearing rehabilitation.
- Keep a list of your progress and problem areas to take to your follow-up appointments. It takes time to adjust to your new hearing aids. Your brain needs to learn the new sounds you will be hearing and adjust to them. This can take up to a few weeks or months.
- Always look for support when there is a problem.