Fitting And Maintaining A Hearing Aid
When you are undergoing hearing loss, a hearing aid can make a huge difference to ensuring that your quality of life is not affected. Yet with such devices often representing a significant financial investment, you will certainly want to be sure that the hearing aid you choose not only fits you properly, but also that you know how best to maintain it to get the best value from your expenditure. Read on to discover our advice on how to fit and care for your brand-new hearing aid.
Find The Right Style
These days, hearing aids come in a wide variety of shapes and styles, which will make an impact on how they fit each individual ear. The different types of hearings aid include:
1. In The Ear (ITE) or full shell
2. Invisible In ear Canal (IIC)
3. Behind The Ear (BTE)
4. BTE with ear molds
5. Receiver In Canal (RIC)
Your choice of hearing aid style will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of your hearing loss and your personal ear anatomy. If you have particular lifestyle demands (such as being an avid sportsperson), this may also affect your choice of hearing aid.
The Best Fit
If you decide to try a BTE or RIC style of hearing aid, there are a few key points to get right at the fitting stage. In the case of a BTE hearing aid, the sound will reach your ear canal via a slim tube with a dome at the end of it. RIC hearing aids, meanwhile, have speakers built right into the tube itself. Tubes and domes come in a range of different sizes to ensure that the best and most secure fit can be achieved on any ear. If correctly fitting, a tube should follow the natural curve of the ear and enter into the ear canal whilst feeling snug but not tight. Soreness after a few hours of wear or finding that the hearing aid is easily dislodged with ordinary movement are both signs that a tube is the wrong size for you and it's time to try a larger or smaller model. Domes should feel comfortable inside the ear and help keep the hearing aid securely in position.
Work With An Expert
Of course, the best way to be sure of a good fit is to consult with an expert. Ask your doctor to refer you to an audiologist or talk through the many available options with your hearing aid dispenser. These specialists will not only be able to advise you on which style of hearing aid is likely to be right for you, but they will also be able to make calibrations and adjustments to optimize your comfort when you wear your chosen device. You will also be shown how to insert and remove your hearing aid safely, without damaging it.
A visit to an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser should provide you with all the information you need to enjoy wearing your new device, but be sure to get a clear answer to the following questions before you take your new hearing aid away. Does the hearing aid feel comfortable? If you need to wear eye glasses, can you still do so without dislodging your hearing aid? Will you need to remove your hearing aid for sports or certain other activities? How long should the batteries last before they will need to be recharged? And, if your new hearing aid comes with advanced technical features, will it be compatible with your home technology setup?
Maintenance Is Essential
When cared for properly, a hearing aid should be expected to last for around four or five years. A great plan to ensure that your device lasts as long as possible is to start out with a regular cleaning regimen. The steps for properly cleaning your hearing aid will vary according to the type of device you have (for example, hearing aids with tubing will need slightly different cleaning techniques than an inner ear model), but experts all agree that establishing the cleaning routine itself is vital to both prolonging the life cycle of your device and protecting your delicate ear area from the effects of harmful bacteria. Be sure to avoid using any alcohol-based cleansing products for your hearing aid, and opt for products that have been created specifically with this sensitive equipment in mind, such as Cleaning Wipes and Cleaning Sprays that come with a convenient brush attachment.