Key Points on Use and Maintenance of your Hearing Aids
This is a simple guide on how to use and maintain your hearing aids. If you follow the points below you’ll get a long life out of your hearing aids and become a confident hearing device user. It does take time to adjust to your hearing aids, so be patient. Your brain needs to get used to the world of sound again. Wearing your hearing aids, every day, even in situations where you don’t think you need them (for example, around the house), will help your brain decode speech signals and filter out unwanted noise.
It’s an exciting journey as you learn to use your hearing aids efficiently! With practice and persistence, your hearing aids will help to compensate for the lost sounds and lead you into better communication with your friends, family and workmates.
1. Wear your hearing aids and build up to noisy situations gradually.
This is Key Point 1 for a reason – it’s the best way to get the most out of your hearing aids. If you aren’t wearing them, you can’t stimulate your brain with all those long-missed sounds. Training your brain is a necessary part of learning to improve your hearing. If you’re not wearing your hearing aid it won’t be giving you any benefit. Don’t let your device become an ITD (In-the-Drawer) hearing aid! So put on your hearing aid and walk around the house and listen to all the noises.
You’ll be surprised at how much the cutlery clatters and how loudly the toilet flushes. Have conversations with people you know well, in quieter situations. This is how you acclimatise to your hearing aids. Build up to noisy cafes and shopping centres. Make notes of any areas you’re not happy with and report back to your Hearing Healthcare Professional (HHP).
2. Maintain your hearing aid.
Keeping your hearing aid maintained and clean will increase its life expectancy. Wipe over your hearing aid every day with the cloth provided. Use the small brush to clean across the microphone to remove any debris or dust. If you have a hearing aid that goes behind your ear check the tubing regularly to ensure it’s clear of moisture and wax. Also look for any cracks or splits in the tube – any hole in the tubing can cause your hearing aid to whistle, and therefore needs to be fixed.
3. Keep the wax filter and your ears clean.
Your HHP would’ve shown you how to change the wax filter that fits neatly in the part of the hearing device that sits in your ear canal. The filter is located in front of the hearing aid receiver which won’t work if it becomes blocked with wax. Check this component for wax regularly. If it appears blocked, you can change the filter with one that was supplied when you received your hearing aid. If you can’t remember how to do this, or you find it too fiddly to manage, just take your hearing aid to your hearing clinic and the staff there can change the wax filter for you.
If your ears make a lot of wax, you may need to get the wax removed periodically by your doctor or your HHP. Don’t attempt this yourself by putting cotton buds or bobby pins in your ears! You can’t see what you’re doing and the old adage of ‘don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’, is a good one to follow.
4. Increase the life of disposable batteries.
To increase the life of these batteries buy good quality brands. Once you activate the battery (by removing the sticky tab) wait five minutes before putting them in your hearing aid. This will give you a longer lasting battery by about 20%. If you have a rechargeable battery – power it up every night. When you take out your hearing aids each night, put them in the charger. An overnight charge will give you a full day of power
5. Regular check-ups – for you and your hearing aid.
It’s important to get your hearing and your hearing aid checked regularly. You visit the dentist every six months and the optometrist every 12 months for a review. You should visit your HHP at least once a year to get your hearing re-tested. If you notice any change in your hearing levels, schedule an appointment immediately. Your hearing aid should be serviced every six months to ensure it’s working at its optimal best.
6. Connect with Bluetooth.
Your hearing aids can be more that a device to help you with your hearing. If you have hearing aids with Bluetooth make sure you know how to pair them to your smartphone and any other audio device you want to use. If you like listening to music, podcasts or television, the Bluetooth in your hearing aids can provide excellent sound quality from any compatible device. Some are now even health tracking devices. Your phone can double as a remote control for your hearing aids and a way to stay in contact with your HHP.
7. Keep your hearing aids safe and insure them
Hearing aids are small and can easily be misplaced. Dogs also love to chew them! Insure your hearing aids under your Housing Contents policy. If they happen to get stolen, or you lose them, (or the dog eats them) you want to make sure you can replace them easily.
8. Learn how to troubleshoot
You can become your own detective and determine the problem with your hearing aid. The table below will help you troubleshoot any problems
Hearing aid not working
Is it turned on? Is the battery flat? Powered up?
Turn on hearing aid, change or charge the battery.
Hearing aid not loud enough
Volume up loud enough? Microphone or wax filter blocked? Has your hearing changed?
Turn up the volume. Brush the microphone. Change the wax filter. Get your hearing retested.
Hearing aid is whistling
Low battery? Blockage in the aid somewhere? Change in your hearing levels? Moisture in the hearing aid?
Check you can put the hearing in properly. If you wear a hat, it could be sitting too close to the microphone. Get your GP to check your ears for wax – get the wax removed. Get new tubing put in (you may wish to learn how to do this yourself)You’re your hearing aid still whistling take it back to hearing clinic to get checked.
Hearing aid got wet
Firstly, remove the disposable battery, then wipe over the hearing aid with a soft cloth. If you have a hair dryer, set it on cool and dry the hearing aid, trying to remove as much water as possible. If you have any silicon packages (the small ones you find in shoe boxes and some medications) put the hearing aid in an airtight container with the silicon package. If you don’t have one, put rice in the container. Leave the hearing aid in the container for 24 hours. If your hearing aid still isn’t functioning as it should, take it to the Hearing Clinic for a check-up.
9. Something’s not right?
Tell your Audiologist of any difficulties you’re having with your hearing aid. Let them know as soon as possible, either at your next appointment, or through your smartphone app (a number of manufacturers now use this option). If you’re not happy with the sound of your hearing aid, go back, as many times as it takes, to get it right. You’ve paid good money for this hearing aid, which includes good service. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, and make sure you’re happy with every aspect of your hearing aid.
10. Tell people you wear a hearing aid
Communication is a two-way street so let your loved ones know how they can also help you on your hearing journey. Your HHP will have lots of tactics you can use to augment your hearing. Share these tactics with your communication partners. People generally want to help, but can’t if they don’t know there’s a problem.
We hope these tips have helped! Please call us on 1300 848 335 if you need any assistance with your hearing aids.