Who Can Benefit From Hearing Aids
Anyone with an identifiable hearing loss or needs an increased signal to noise ratio can benefit from hearing aids. At Flex Audiology, we utilize a variety of methods to ensure the patient is getting benefit. Some methods include QSIN testing with and without the hearing aids, Real Ear or Live Speech Mapping and subjective benefit questionnaires.
Types of Hearing Aids
Fitting and Fine Tuning
Once you have placed your order for your hearing aid, you will be scheduled for a hearing aid fitting. This is an exciting appointment where you will be fit with your hearing aids, counseled on expectations, and oriented with your devices. At Flex Audiology, we will use a computer program to set your hearing aids to your specific hearing loss. We will then check for a comfortable fit and run a feedback test to make sure you don’t have to experience that annoying “whistle” that some hearing aids make.
At Flex Audiology, we use what is called Real Ear Measures, or REM, to fine tune the hearing aids even more for the best fit. Everybody has a different shape and size ear canal, and to measure this and program the hearing aids, your audiologist will insert a small microphone into your ear to measure the output of the hearing aid. Live speech is used to check the output of the hearing aids and to make sure you will be able to hear speech that is both quiet and loud. REM with Live Speech Mapping provides the best fit for hearing aids and allows the individual and family to see immediate benefit.
Orientation includes learning how to insert and remove the hearing aids, how to best take care of them, expectations for the first few weeks, and maintenance of the devices. There’s a lot of information provided in this visit, so you may want to bring a friend or family member. During this appointment we will review how to best adjust to the new hearing aids, along with setting realistic expectations.
Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance
Hearing aids do require some extra care as they are medical devices sitting in a sensitive part of the body. You will be provided with a brush and wax pick to help keep the hearing aids clean. Hearing aids may clog with wax, and your audiologist will show you how to change the wax guard, or wax trap, during your appointment. Patients are encouraged to drop their hearing aids off at least once a year for a deep cleaning and special vacuuming of the hearing aid mic ports.
Hearing aids need their own testing to examine how well they are performing and this done through electroacoustic analysis. At Flex Audiology, we use “Test Box Measures”. This is where we connect your hearing aids to the test box and verify that all hearing aid features are working accurately, the hearing aid internal components are working well, and that the hearing aid is working well. We recommend having this test performed once a year to ensure optimal working performance.
As a rule of thumb, the bigger the battery, the longer the life of the battery. There are 4 hearing aid battery sizes ordered from small to large as 10, 13, 312, and 675. Hearing aid batteries are activated by air—so to prevent the activation before use, batteries come with a sticker on the back. When the sticker is peeled, the hearing aid battery is activated. The stickers come in different colors which are assigned to the size of the battery. Size 10 battery stickers are yellow, 13 are orange, 312 are brown, and 675 are blue. It is important to let the battery rest for a minute after peeling the sticker to make sure the battery is fully activated before inserting into the hearing aid. When not using your hearing aid, remember to open the battery door to preserve the life of the battery.
Rechargeable hearing aids come with a charger in which you will plug the hearing aids in nightly. These are great for patients who don’t want the hassle of replace their batteries every 5-8 days. Lithium hearing aid batteries will need to be replaced every 4-5 years.