Hearing Aids – What The Hearing Professionals Should Tell Us!

Gael Hannan
October 24, 2011

1. When you take your hearing aids out at night, open the battery cage. Otherwise the battery will corrode, and the corrosion will seep into your brain and make you go cross-eyed.

2. I know we told you that it takes 30 days or so to get used to the new hearing aid. But for many people, it’s more like 60, 90, maybe even 190 days. Just take your time; when you’re ready to commit, let me know.

3. There’s only so much we can discuss in the allotted time of our clinical appointments. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids, you should attend my weekly, small-group aural rehabilitation classes, in which we discuss speechreading and other communication strategies. No extra charge.

4. You’re right, other people do mumble.  But you don’t hear well.  So, get new hearing aids and learn how to ask people to speak up. (For help with assertiveness skills please see suggestion #3 above.)

5. Hearing aids do not last forever. They have a finite lifespan that can be shortened by any – or all – of the following:

  • Your dog could eat it. (And despite what you’ve heard, most hearing-aid-eating-dogs don’t swallow them whole and pass them out intact at the other end. Most dogs chew them into little bits and spit them out.
  • You could get into the shower and think, “Wow, I’ve never heard the water so clearly before!”
  • Your hearing aid could drop silently and invisibly into the apple pie batter, and be baked at 350 degrees for one hour.
  • It could be “put down somewhere” and never be seen again.
  • The hearing aid could just sputter out, and pass away peacefully, of old age, RIP.

(Editor’s Note:  All of the above are true, so protect your hearing aids.  If any of this happens to you, accept the fact that you may need to get new hearing aids.  GH)

6. Yes, ma’am, hearing aids are expensive and, as an industry, we’re working to solve that problem. For the present, however, please choose one of the following service options:

Option A: My hands are tied on the price, but I want you to know that, as your hearing healthcare professional, I will see you in my office any time you need me, at no extra charge. It’s important to me that you are communicating well, in every aspect of your life.

Option B: Let’s look at pricing that suits not only your lifestyle, but your budget, and ability to pay. It’s important to me that you are communicating well, in every aspect of your life.

7. You have a telecoil in your hearing aid. Yes, you do. And if we activate it, you will be able to do all sorts of wonderful things. You could talk on the phone without feedback. You could use an FM system which would bring the television, movie or play, and voices of professors and other speakers right into your hearing aids! I have one right here in the office. Let’s try it.

8. Here’s a written summary of what we talked about today. Here’s an agenda of what we’ll talk about at our next meeting.

9. I’m just a simple hearing health care  provider. You need to reach beyond the limits of my expertise and learn from the experience of other people with hearing loss. Here’s a complimentary one-year membership to the Hearing Loss Association of America. For Canadians, we have a complimentary one-year membership to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.

(Editor’s Final Note:  While some of these points may seem a bit goofy, most of them are important issues that hearing aid users need hear from those who serve us.  And trust me on the dog thing.  GH)

  1. Great article Gael. I would like to add that all hearing aids should have directional microphones because they lower the background noise when in a noisy airplane, restaurant, or convention. Also a manual volume control is a must unless you are physically unable. Always make sure your hearing aid has a telecoil as your hearing health provider may not think it is important. Be sure the telecoil is turned on before you leave the office. My feeling is that it should not take 30 or more days to adjust a hearing aid if it was fitted properly by a competent audiologist. That is why you need a trial period and use it in every environment that you could not hear well in. Return and and ask for adjustments during the trial period. Do not wear your hearing aid in rain or place in a lint filled pocket. I have seen people abuse their hearing aids without the thought they may work as well when needed. Another item is compression and that is for the audiologist to adjust. This allows soft sounds to become louder and loud sounds softer. I use to jump to the ceiling when a car door slammed because it was so loud and I had analog hearing aids. Hearing aids are great but the idea you must replace them in 3-5 years is rediculous. Take care of them and they should last longer. You can return for an adjustment if your hearing goes south later on. My two cents worth, okay due to inflation fifty cents worth.

  2. Gael, as always you make funny but excellent points! I always enjoy reading your writings!

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