10 steps to ensure hearing aid success

Nikki Roxburgh - 31 January 2015

1. Are you motivated to wear hearing aids?

If you don't want hearing aids, don't get them. The biggest key to success is the patient being willing to give them a go.

I ask patients to rate their hearing between 1 and 10 (10 being excellent hearing) and if a patient answers between 8 and 10 when their results show that they are a 4 or 5 out of 10 hearing aids are generally not prescribed as the patient is not motivated or open to using hearing aids.

As a general rule of thumb, patients who rate their hearing between 1 and 5 always see immediate benefits from hearing aids, those that answer 6 or 7 often trial the hearing aids to see if the perceived benefits are worth the investment.

2. Trial the hearing aids before buying them.

Please make sure you trial hearing aids, without paying for the hearing aids first. Hearing aids are an investment, much like when you buy a car - they need to be test driven. Just like when you test drive a car you should be able to test drive your hearing aids to make sure you are happy with the fitting, benefits and use of the hearing aids. Most Audiology clinics will require a copy of a drivers license and/or credit card details that are not processed as security to ensure that you do return them. If the clinic will not let you trial hearing aids find one that will.

3. Be honest with your Audiologist.

A good Audiologist will listen to your feedback and make the adjustments you require accordingly. Give honest feedback, the better and more open communication is with your Audiologist the better the outcome for the patient.

4. Ensure you are comfortable managing your hearing aids.

Before you buy your hearing aids, make sure you can manage your hearing aids, that is, that they fit correctly, you can put the hearing aids in and out of your ear easily, change the batteries and operate the hearing aids and accessories (if applicable).

If not, talk about your concerns with your Audiologist or a different style of hearing aids that might be easier to use.

5. Be prepared to visit the Audiology clinic if you need an update on cleaning and maintenance of your hearing aids.

There is a lot to remember to maintain and care for your hearing aids. Please be prepared to visit the Audiological clinic to refresh and go over cleaning techniques and care tips. Any Audiologist would prefer to see you many times so that you can learn to maintain and care for your hearing aids than have you buy them and not use them. More often than not, the performance of hearing aids deteriorates because of wax build up which is easily fixed.

6. Allow time for your ears and brain to adjust to the new sounds around you.

You may hearing things that you have not heard for a long time or you may perceive that the quality of sound has changed when you first wear your hearing aids.

Whether you are a new user or you have recently upgraded, it is important to be patient during this adaption time, results don't always come overnight.

7. Wear your hearing aids daily for optimal results.

I am always disappointed if a patient of mine wears their hearing aids less than 4 hours per day. In my experience, the patients that get the greatest success are those that embrace hearing aids and wear them for 8 hours or more per day. Putting their hearing aids on is just part of their daily routine, like cleaning your teeth.

8. Make sure you have annual hearing tests and adjustments (if required).

Hearing can deteriorate or change and it is important that at a minimum you see your Audiologist annually so that any necessary adjustments can be made to your hearing aids. This is also a chance for the Audiologist to answer any questions you may have regarding your hearing aids and your hearing.

If you notice increased difficulty hearing at any time make an appointment to see your Audiologist, any necessary adjustments can be made then.

9. Always clean and maintain your hearing aids.

It is really important that your hearing aids are cleaned and maintained, they will perform better and last much longer. Hearing aids are like gutters on your house, if you don't keep them clean and well maintained they don't work.

10. If you already have hearing aids and are unhappy with them - find the right Audiologist.

There are too many people who have their hearing aids sitting in the top drawer at home because they are unhappy with the performance of their hearing aids. Please get them out of the drawer and find the right Audiologist, so that you can work together to get the right solutions. After all, you probably paid a lot of money for them.

If you would like any further information or have any questions, do not hesitate to email me at info@acutehearingnsw.com.au or contact me on 02 8599 1600.

James Roxburgh
Head Audiologist and Owner