Understanding Your Hearing Instrument

IMG_0504When you purchase a hearing instrument from L.A.C. you are placing your trust in us to care for all your hearing needs. We are proud to be your partner. When you take this first step, you are committing to improving your quality of life with better hearing. Our goal is to help you through this transition of learning to hear with your new hearing aids. Remember, better hearing cannot just be purchased, it must also be learned.

Here are some helpful tips for Learning to Hear Again:

Step 1. Wear Your Hearing Aids. Make a commitment to wear your hearing aids everyday, even if it is for a short while. At first, you may be aware of them and your own voice may sound different, but the more you wear them, the quicker you adjust. Please note there is a difference between being aware of your hearing aids and being uncomfortable. If you have any discomfort don’t “put up with it.” Contact our office for an appointment immediately.

Step 2: Give Yourself Time to Discover. When fitted with new hearing aids, initially people often find things “tinny”, “noisy, “too loud” or “ unnatural”. Your brain is learning to recognize sounds you have been missing. These sounds will help to improve your speech comprehension, but only if you wear your hearing aids consistently. Understanding occurs in your brain, not in your ears. It can take from several weeks to several months for your brain to recognize and use these new sounds.This learning curve can be challenging but success will come with patience, practise and commitment.

Step 3: Practise Being an Effective Listener. When wearing your hearing aids it will be easier to hear in both quiet and noisy situations but there will be times you still have difficulty. Be patient with yourself. Inform people of your hearing loss. Pay attention to people’s faces and gestures. Ask people to come closer and look directly at you when speaking. Rephrase what you have heard to verify the topic.

Step 4: Living With the Noise Around Us. The world is full of sounds. These sounds have meaning and help us with awareness and communication. Sometimes we interpret these sounds as noise and are unwanted as they interfere with what we want to hear. Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate these sounds. When you first start wearing hearing aids, you may hear environmental sounds that you don’t recognize and find bothersome. Identify these sounds so when you hear them again, you can chose to listen to them or ignore them. When listening in noise, move as far away from the noise as possible. Turn off the TV, radio or anything else that might be interfering with your ability to hear. Decrease the distance between you and who you want to hear.

Step 5: Taking Part in Discussions. Even people with good hearing have difficulty understanding speech if several people speak at once. Be open, tell people you have trouble hearing. Don’t be reluctant to ask people to look at you when they are speaking. Focus on the speaker and ask for repeats if you don’t hear it the first time, or ask them to repeat it in a different way. Turn off as much background sound as you can and ask family and friends to do the same.

Improving Communication Improves Relationships

Communication is extremely important to all relationships and a hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s desire to interact. Frustration, fatigue and embarrassment from the inability to communicate often leads to withdrawal along with feelings of isolation. The following strategies will make communication easier.

IMG_0345Strategies for Friends and Family
– Be patient with hard-of-hearing people.
– Get the person’s attention before speaking. Call their name or gently tap them on the shoulder.
– Repeat information once then rephrase the message to clarify.
– Speak clearly and slowly. Do not shout as this causes sound to distort.
– Provide them with the topic and identify topic changes as needed.
– Look directly at the person when you speak. Move closer and avoid speaking from another room or with your back turned to them.
– Modify light and seating arrangements if possible to provide the person with a clear view.
– Eliminate or reduce background noises. Turn off the television or stereo, move away from fans and air conditioners, or move to a quieter room.
– Make sure only one person talks at a time.

London Audiology Consultants offers classes, which explain to clients, friends and family the impact of their hearing loss. We teach important communication skills and strategies to reduce frustration and improve communication. Please call the office to register for the next session.

Tips and Troubleshooting

Don’t ignore your battery warning. A weak battery can cause a hearing aid to be intermittent, distorted or just not work properly. You may squeeze a little more time out of the battery but it may cause you unncessary problems.

Do clean your hearing aids every day, even if you don’t think they need it. Wax and moisture are your hearing aids two biggest enemies and are not always visible. Change your filter (if you have one) as recommended. Wipe and brush the hearing aids every day and remember to open your battery door at night.

If you have a dri aid kit, use it every night to store your hearing aids. If you don’t have one, it is a good idea to purchase one. It will absorb unwanted and damaging moisture overnight and help cut down on repairs.

Don’t wait to call if you have any concerns with your hearing aids, whether it is related to comfort, function or sound. Often people think they are “bothering” us when they have a concern or a repeated problem. This is not the case, we want to HEAR from you if you are having a problem.

Do use your hearing aid case and/or pouch for storage. Most hearing aids are lost or damaged, not because they fall out but due to improper storage. If your hearing aids are not in your ears, store them in the hard shell case or pouch provided. If you need a spare case or pouch for travel or any other reason, please just ask.

If you have any problems or concerns with your hearing aids, please contact our office.