Once the hearing aids have been fitted for the ears, the individual should begin to gradually wear the hearing aid. Because hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, it may take time to get used to the different sounds transmitted by the device. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends the following when beginning to wear hearing aids:
- Be patient and give yourself time to get used to the hearing aid and the sound it produces.
- Start in quiet surroundings and gradually build up to noisier environments.
- Experiment where and when the hearing aid works best for you.
- Keep a record of any questions and concerns you have, and bring those to your follow-up examination.
Hearing aids need to be kept dry. Methods for cleaning hearing aids vary depending on the style and shape. Other tips for taking care of hearing aids include:
- Keep the hearing aids away from heat.
- Batteries should be replaced on a regular basis.
- Avoid the use of hairspray and other hair products when the hearing aid is in place.
A medical examination is required before purchasing a hearing aid. Hearing aids can be purchased from an otolaryngologist (a physician who specializes in disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck), an audiologist (a specialist who can evaluate and manage hearing and balance problems), or an independent company. Styles and prices vary widely.
The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders recommends asking the following questions when buying hearing aids:
- Can the hearing loss be improved with medical or surgical interventions
- Which design will work best for my type of hearing loss?
- May I test the hearing aids for a certain period?
- How much do hearing aids cost?
- Do the hearing aids have a warranty and does it cover maintenance and repairs?
- Can my audiologist or otolaryngologist make adjustments and repairs
- Can any other assistive technological devices be used with the hearing aids?
Hearing aids typically need to be replaced after about five years. New programmable and digital hearing aids which can be adjusted as the level of hearing changes may reduce the need for replacement.
Hearing aid prices vary depending upon the style and the circuitry that would best accommodate your hearing loss. Basic hearing aids are less expensive but they are limited in the features. More advanced hearing aids are more expensive but they offer features that benefit you the most.
Discuss the financial aspects of your hearing aids with your audiologist. Remember, you are purchasing your hearing aids to enhance your hearing and your enjoyment of day-to-day communication with your family and friends.