It can be difficult to acknowledge the need for help addressing hearing issues. Before you go to your doctor to speak about hearing loss, it’s a good idea to be prepared.
Hearing aids are customized to each individual to suit their own individual needs, so it’s important to be ready to speak to your doctor about your desires and goals for how you would prefer to address your hearing loss.
Below are critical questions to ask during your hearing appointment:
What Are My Options for Addressing My Hearing Loss?
Just as everyone has an individual ear shape and design, no two cases of hearing deficits are identical. After you have had a comprehensive hearing test performed by a doctor of audiology, it’s important to understand what your options are for addressing your hearing issues.
Some individuals are born with very small ear canals, which makes them ineligible for some types of hearing devices known as Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC). Although a CIC device may be able to address your hearing issues, your ear canals may be too small for you to be eligible for these devices.
In other cases, your hearing loss may be too severe to be fully restored even with a very powerful hearing aid, or by using a hearing aid in the style that you might prefer.
What Can A Hearing Aid Do For Me?
Hearing aids cannot fix all problems, or be accommodated to every type of lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to be prepared with a list of activities and events for which you’d like to wear your hearing aid. If you participate in an extensive social life, or attend events with noisy background environments, plan on a lot of solo travel, or spend time attending meetings, it’s important to mention this to your doctor. Likewise, if you plan on using your hearing aids to have telephone conversations, one-on-one conversations at home, this too will have an effect on determining which type of hearing aid is right for you.
Will I Need Additional Devices Besides My Hearing Aid?
Once you understand what benefits your hearing aid can offer you, it’s also important to understand whether your preferred device works entirely independently. Some hearing devices require remote apps to adjust and control, or be connected to secondary devices for volume control, power or to adjust the settings.
Many people who use hearing aids rely on these devices for making and receiving phone calls. Therefore, it is critically important to ask your doctor whether your hearing device is compatible with your current mobile phone, or whether you’d prefer a second model that directly transfers the phone’s audio into a hearing aid. Likewise, some advanced hearing aid models can be remotely paired to televisions and other entertainment devices, piping the audio wirelessly directly into the hearing aid.
What’s the Plan if my Hearing Aid Malfunctions?
Hearing aids are marvelous examples of miniature technology, but they also must be regularly maintained and cared for. Even with the best care, eventually all hearing aids will start to malfunction, need critical software updates, be professionally cleaned, or repaired.
It’s important to ask your doctor about what to do to maintain and eventually replace or upgrade your hearing aid. Be sure to ask direct questions to find out how long a professional cleaning takes, as well as the costs, plus what your plan of action is while your hearing aid is out of service.
When you’re forearmed with knowledge about what to do in case of a malfunction or downtime due to maintenance, you’ll be far less stressed and concerned when having to be temporarily without your hearing aid. This will also help you make plans for communicating when your hearing aid is being serviced, fixed, or replaced.
When Will I Need to Upgrade my Hearing Device?
Investing in a hearing aid requires careful consideration, but it’s also important to be aware that your hearing aid will eventually need to be updated, upgraded, or have its programming modified. Therefore, it is critically important at the outset to understand just when your hearing aid may need to be upgraded or updated, with at least a general idea of what’s going to happen in the next 2-3 years. It’s always a very good idea to ask your doctor exactly how long it is estimated that you can continue to use your hearing aid before it needs to be replaced.
Likewise, your hearing loss and audio needs may change over time, especially as your ears get used to the amplification of sound provided by your hearing device. It may become necessary for your hearing device to be re-calibrated in the future to meet your changed hearing needs, or to upgrade to a more powerful model in the future.
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]