Sacramento Area Hearing Aid Centers (888) 490-0056
Q: Do your hearing aids hurt your ears?
A: You should be able to wear your hearing aids comfortably all day long. If you can’t, keep telling your provider until the aids are made comfortable for you. If your ear gets sore, the device needs to be modified. Often it can be ground and buffed for comfort. If this is done a few times and you still experience soreness, the hearing aid must be rebuilt. Even a slight discomfort must be corrected because if your hearing aids are uncomfortable, you’ll stop wearing them.
Q: Do your hearing aids fall out of your ears?
A: 60% of people wear behind-the-ear or receiver-in-the-ear devices today. If the tubing or wire length is too long or too short, the hearing aid will move out of your ear. This leaves people feeling unsure about wearing their hearing aids for fear of losing them. Getting an accurate measurement and then putting the correct length wire or tubing will solve this problem.
Q: Do your hearing aids whistle, causing embarrassing feedback?
A: Feedback (whistling, squealing) is amplified sound which comes out of the hearing aid receiver and leaks through the air vent or space between your ear canal opening and the instrument. This amplified sound then re-enters the microphone causing feedback. You can force your hearing aid to squeal by placing your hand close to the microphone BUT hearing aids should not typically whistle.
Excessive earwax in your ear canal can cause feedback. This is easily corrected by having your ears cleaned by a doctor or audiologist. Get regular check-ups on your hearing aids, at least twice a year. Your provider should be inspecting your ears at these check-ups to determine if they need cleaning.
Otherwise, feedback is a fitting problem. Your hearing aid may be too loose in your ear, the air vent may be too large, the canal length of the aid may be too short, or the canal direction of the instrument may be wrong. Some hearing aids squeal with excessive jaw motion when you chew or yawn. Most hearing aids must be remade in order to solve these kinds of problems. The provider must take a new impression of your ear, and send the instrument and impression back to the manufacturer. The manufacturer will then rebuild your aid into a new shell for a better fit.
Minor feedback problems may be corrected by reprogramming your hearing aids. BUT beware of the provider who programs out the higher frequencies often associated with feedback problems. He’ll be reducing your feedback BUT also reducing your clarity. This is an unacceptable way to solve a feedback problem.
Q: Do your hearing aids make everything loud but not clear?
A: The main purpose of hearing aids is to help you hear more clearly. A common complaint is that hearing aids make everything louder but not clearer.
Years ago, hearing aids were straight amplifiers. They amplified everything equally – low pitch tones such as a running fan, and high pitch tones such as silverware hitting the table. Low tones are typically vowel sounds in speech. The high tones are usually consonants. Most people with hearing loss have more high frequency loss. They hear but do not understand, missing the consonants more than the vowels. Therefore, amplifying everything equally does not make speech clearer, just louder.
Today, we use computers to adjust and program hearing aids to match a person’s hearing loss. Usually the more bands a circuit has, the closer we are able to match the hearing aids to a person’s specific loss. Hearing aids can have anywhere from only one band to twenty-four bands of adjustable hearing. It is the responsibility of the provider to determine the best number of bands for your hearing loss and your lifestyle needs. The more in depth and thorough the hearing test and consultation (it should take at least one hour), the more information can be gathered to make the right recommendation for you. Providers often don’t take the time to gather all of this vital information.
To verify how effective a hearing aid fitting is, be sure to have a Speech Discrimination Test done with your new hearing instruments. This test tells you and the provider how much clarity you are getting to ensure the best possible fitting. And remember, you must be willing to work with the provider in order to make the necessary adjustments.
Q: Do you remove your hearing aids in noisy situations like a restaurant? Does loud sound bother you?
A: Too much background noise is the number one complaint people have with hearing aids. Many people with hearing loss suffer from “recruitment,” a sensitivity to loudness. Even though they need the volume turned up to hear more clearly, when turned up a little too much, it becomes extremely loud and bothersome. Have you ever asked someone to repeat what they have said, only to have them raise their voice to the point that it actually hurts? This is an example of recruitment.
It is critical that a Loudness Discomfort Test be done when being tested for a hearing aid fitting. Your hearing aids should be designed to never go past this loudness discomfort level. When this measurement is not done, the client is usually over fit and the noisy world can be intolerable. With the flexibility that comes from digital technology and the use of computers to program hearing aids, you no longer will need to remove them in noisy situations.
Advanced circuits can even distinguish between noise and speech, turning the noise down while enhancing the speech. Many of the problems current hearing aid users experience can be greatly improved with the right digital technology. For as little as $3.00 per day, you could be hearing more clearly and comfortably.
So if you have been unlucky with hearing aids and you’re not wearing them, go past your discouragement and take some action. If you can relate to any of these problems with hearing aids, know that many of them can be corrected. Work with someone who is caring enough to listen to your problems but also competent enough to make the right adjustments for you and your hearing loss.