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What Should You Know Before Buying Hearing Aids?

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many sets of hearing aids on display with a hand choosing one

Millions of adults have age-related hearing loss, and although there is generally no way to restore your hearing once it begins to fade, hearing aids can really help. The small electronic devices worn in or behind the ears are the best option to help correct untreated hearing loss and resume a high quality of life. So, what else do you need to know before buying hearing aids?

What is a hearing aid?

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that you wear in or behind your ear to help with your hearing. Today, thanks to advanced technology, these devices can be customized to address different types of hearing loss

Hearing aids contain at least one microphone which picks up sound, a computer chip to amplify and process sound, a speaker that sends the signal to your ear and then a battery for power. 

Today, you can also get more sophisticated models that feature things like rechargeable batteries or being able to connect to your smartphone.

How do hearing aids help people with hearing loss?

Hearing aids work by amplifying the sound going into your ear. There are different types of hearing loss, but one of the main types is called sensorineural, which is when the tiny hair cells of the inner ear become damaged. The hearing aids help as they deliver sound to the remaining healthy hair cells, which is then sent to the brain as neural signals via the auditory nerve.

How do I get hearing aids?

When you visit an audiologist to have your hearing tested, they will let you know if you need hearing aids or not, and if you do, they will recommend which ones you need and talk through your options with you. 

How will my hearing aids be fitted?

Once you have been told by an audiologist that you would benefit from hearing aids, they will also look and discuss with you the different hearing aid options. Depending on the severity and type of your hearing loss and then your budget and cosmetic preferences, there will be different hearing aid options and, therefore, different ways of them being fitted. Hearing aids are personalized, so not every brand, style or technology level of hearing aid is suited for everyone. Your audiologist will discuss all of this with you to make sure that you get the right hearing aids for you and your lifestyles. Even if two people have the same hearing loss, they may end up with different hearing aids based on other criteria. 

Will I hear better straight away?

Yes, your hearing aids will help you to hear straight away, but it might take you a little time to get used to them. Your audiologist will fit them initially, they will fine-tune features and adjust levels to ensure you are getting the most benefit from the devices, but this might need changing as you get on with your life and find that you need them adjusting slightly. There is an adjustment period, however, so you need to give it time to get used to wearing new hearing devices. Let your audiologist know if you are experiencing any problems, though, and they will be able to help you. 

Do hearing aids delay dementia?

Hearing aids actually do a lot more than just help you to hear. Hearing is a complex neurological process, and one that not only connects you with the world so that you can hear what's going on, but just having that hearing can make a huge difference to your life. Hearing aids have been shown to have other major health benefits and can reduce loneliness, delay the onset of dementia and improve your quality of life and sense of safety. 

How do I look after my hearing aids? 

Many hearing healthcare professionals offer hearing device cleaning at no cost. However, it is still a good habit to learn daily maintenance and cleaning to protect your hearing aids yourself. Most hearing aid problems can be sorted out at home, but generally, when you're not wearing them, you need to keep them in a cool and dry place to avoid moisture. Even though they're only small, your hearing aids contain some very sophisticated technology, so you do have to be careful with them and be sure not to expose them to moisture as this can cause severe damage. You also need to change the batteries regularly.

Do I really need hearing aids?

If your hearing test shows that you have hearing loss, then yes. It is better to have them than to continue struggling with your hearing as you won't even necessarily know what you're missing out on. Hearing loss can increase your risk for social and medical problems, including isolation, cognitive decline and depression.

To learn more about Alexandria Audiology and how we can help you, call us at 703-823-3336.