Hearing aids are invaluable for many people living with hearing loss. These small devices fit inside or behind the ear, amplifying the sounds that it picks up to make hearing easier for the user. While this may sound simple enough, the process of adjusting a hearing aid to suit the hearing needs of each individual is more complex.
Getting Started with Your Hearing Aid
If you believe you require hearing correction, your experience with hearing aids will likely begin with a full audiological evaluation. The evaluating audiologist will use various methods to determine the severity of your hearing loss and recommend appropriate corrective treatment. Many different medical conditions can form the underlying cause of hearing loss. In some cases, specialized treatment is necessary before a hearing aid will be as effective as the user hopes it to be.
Once your audiologist determines that a hearing aid is suitable for your hearing loss, you will have the opportunity to select from several types with a wide range of features. In the past, all hearing aids were analog and were fairly simple devices that just increased the volume of the sounds around the user. Today’s digital hearing aids are more complex and will self-adjust to specific types of hearing issues. Many newly available hearing- aids offer Bluetooth control.
Your audiologist will teach you how to care for your hearing device and help you become aware of any issues that might signal a need to have your hearing aids readjusted or reprogrammed.
Signs Your Hearing Aid Needs Adjustment
After your aids have been initially programmed and fit for your needs you will likely have a couple of follow up visits for small adjustments and to answer any questions you may have. Over time your hearing devices will require adjustment and reprogramming as your brain adjusts to processing sounds that it hasn’t heard in some time or as your hearing naturally changes.
Issues such as volume fluctuations or high-pitched noises are a sign your device needs adjusting. Ear discomfort can signal that your hearing aid’s ear mold does not fit properly. Over time, the material used for the mold may experience deterioration and need adjustment to function properly.
Why See the Audiologist
It is important to see your audiologist for any hearing aid adjustments or reprogramming. Your audiologist has an extensive background in the science behind your hearing loss and understands the physical device and programming that make up your hearing aid. Adjustments to frequency, volume, and background noise filtration levels can all be adjusted at your visit.
An audiologist will connect your device(s) to an external computer. for proper adjustment of the programming and settings. Visible speech mapping and algorithms will allow the audiologist to adjust programs to respond to specific noise environments. Precise ear measurement and ear probe microphones are often used to perform diagnostics.
They can also detect a change in your hearing that you may not be aware of, and may require additional testing. An audiologist can diagnose an issue with your device much more easily than you may be able to at home. Regular appointments such as this are a great time to ask any questions that may come up about your hearing aid or available programming options.
Reasons Not to Try Reprogramming at Home
Although it might be tempting to save yourself a trip to the audiologist, there are a number of reasons that reprogramming your hearing aids is best left to the experts. Attempting to try and reprogram your hearing aids on your own can end up being a costly mistake that may require even more extensive adjustments.
Trying to reprogram your device can result in the settings being unsuitable or even unsafe for your natural hearing function. Programming your hearing aid requires a thorough and in-depth understanding of the medical science behind hearing loss.
Hearing aids are small, complex devices that require specialized tools and equipment. Trying to adjust them yourself can result in physical damage to this sensitive piece of equipment. This can result in an expensive repair or replacement costs.
Things You Can Self Adjust
As you become familiar with your hearing aid, you will realize there are a number of features you can adjust on your own. You can adjust the volume or amplification levels of your device at any time. Many devices allow you to manually adjust from one program to another based on environmental factors, such as going from a one on one conversation to a group setting. Adjustments can be made to account for excessive background noise or if you are listening to music.
A number of hearing aids come with partnered apps that you can use with a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Bluetooth connectivity can be set up to connect automatically or manually. For example, ReSound ONE hearing aids offer an app for complete real-time control over volume and sound quality and even offer adjustments for different listening environments. The Evoke hearing aids from Widex provide smart learning technology. The hearing aids adjust automatically and become smarter over time as the devices map your environment and learn your routine.
Your initial audiology examination is one of the most important phases of hearing correction. Be sure to ask your audiologist about the differences between the leading brands of hearing aids that offer the features you want the most. They can also make personalized recommendations based on the severity and the underlying cause of your hearing loss.
At the Oklahoma Hearing Center, we can help you determine the best hearing aids to resolve your unique hearing loss issues. Contact us today for a hearing aid consultation or a programming adjustment for your existing hearing aids.