Getting a new hearing aid?
Some thoughts to consider before you go ahead
- Telecoils – My advice is to get them fitted at the outset. They cannot be supplied to an existing hearing aid. If a telecoil is required then a new hearing aid with the telecoil fitting is likely.
- They allow hearing in public places where there is a lot of background noise. Railway stations, checkout windows, banks, supermarkets and the like. You may feel you do not need it but nonetheless it might be worth getting it fitted at the outset.
- Always insist on the follow-up. It is normal for wax to accumulate in the ear canal and this can cause interference with the hearing aid and results in ‘feedback’ (whistling).
- Should the hearing aid have a plastic tube feeding the sound to your ear – make sure you understand about blockage of the tube with wax or simply with perspiration (may need the puffer to blow it out) and regularly clean it.
- The plastic tubes, flexible initially, become rigid as a result of UV light. When they are rigid they should be changed.
- Beyond the speaker there is always a filter. This can get blocked over time and may need changing by the audiologist.
- Should your hearing be moderately severe it is worth thinking about listening devices to help keep in touch with the outside world. An ‘ear level receiver’ is the top-of-the-range way to go beyond the hearing aid. They need fitting at the outset. Bluetooth compatible devices are also worth thinking about.
- Protect your hearing. Remember to preserve what remains of your hearing in situations where loud noise might further damage it. (Lawn mowers, loud music etc)
- These devices are expensive. For those who are on benefit some help may be provided by the Government funded scheme ‘Access to Work’
- Always keep the wrappings of anything that arrives by post in case it might need to be sent back.
- Send back anything which does not do what you are expecting. Devices need to be tested out in different settings over a good period of time before a decision can be made.
- More information about listening devices can be obtained from these links:
Action on Hearing Loss
Bluetooth technology is short wave wireless transmission. This is used to connect a wide range of electronic devices over short distances.
- It can be used for connecting hearing aids (a small receiver is needed, worn on a neck loop or, on some hearing aids via a direct ear level receiver) to various electronics notably the telephone, the MP3 player, the television and the computer.
- Each of the devices to which it is connected need a Bluetooth connector. These should be sought at the time of the sale, but connecting devices are also obtainable at a later date.
- Keeping in touch in the usual ‘everyday’ world means being able to easily access the telephone, the television, MP3 player. These are all Bluetooth compatible and therefor this method of keeping in touch is certainly worth thinking about.
So where is the need to use one of the listening devices which are described? The answer is that these devices are adaptable to listening in multiple situations. Furthermore they are extremely useful in the social situations described where Bluetooth is unavailable. These include hearing a lecturer, when going round public buildings, hearing in the car, the TV and in restaurants (best with one single person). From a purely practical point of view the versatility of a listening device such as is described on this website amply justifies their cost.
- Clarity of speech is dependent on the frequency of the sound. Sadly it is the higher pitches which are lost in the usual age-related deafness. If the hearing loss is severe it may be that certain frequencies are altogether inaudible and cannot be heard no matter how loud they are amplified.
- Hearing aids are designed individually to compensate for the particular loss in each person. The sound is boosted where the audiogram suggests the need. With the more severe degrees of hearing loss boosting the sound at those frequencies where the hair cells are not working will not help. This is further explained in Link – Audiology.
- This should be born in mind when considering the purchase of a listening device. All devices should be tried out before accepting the purchase. If they don’t work for you then they should be returned. A full refund should be requested and made provided of course that it has not been damaged.