Useful Information

Listening with hearing aids may seem unusual at first, especially if your hearing loss has developed over several years. It takes a bit of time and patience to get used to how things sound, and how the hearing aids feel. Below is some useful information that will help you along the way.

What you might experience

Your ears feel blocked
  • When you first use hearing aids, your ears might feel as though they're blocked - this is called the occlusion effect.
  • Some people describe it as similar to having earplugs in their ears.
  • Most hearing aids have a vent that helps address occlusion by allowing natural sound to pass into the ear.
  • With open fitting styles you may not experience occlusion at all.
Your own voice sounds different
  • When you first wear hearing aids, your voice will seem louder.
  • As you wear them more regularly you will get used to the sound.
You hear whistling from the hearing aids
  • High-pitched whistling is known as feedback.
  • It can happen when you turn on your hearing aids while inserting them into your ears, when slipping clothing over your head, hugging someone or putting  your hand close to your ear.
  • Hearing aids have feedback management technologies that greatly reduce the possibility of whistling.

Strategies that can help you communicate more effectively

  • Tell others that you have a hearing loss and let them know how they can help (e.g. make sure you have my attention before speaking to me, speak slower, look directly at me).
  • Keep background noise to a minimum – turn down the radio and television when you're talking, and avoid fans or running water during conversations.
  • Move closer to the person speaking and position yourself so you can always see them.
  • In large groups, position yourself in the center. At large gatherings, such as church services or lectures, sit at the front of the room. Use an assistive listening device, if available.

How family and friends can help

Reduce background noise
  • Reduce background noise by turning down the television or radio, turning off the dishwasher, fan and other noisy devices.
  • Move closer to the listener.
  • Try to have only one person speaking at a time in large groups, when possible.
Make it easy to read your lips
  • Do not cover your mouth or chew gum or food when speaking.
  • Reduce the distance between you and the listener. Look directly at the person when speaking.
  • Ensure conversation areas are well lit so the listener can watch facial expressions.
  • Avoid conversations in the car where it is difficult to hear between the front and back seats or to read lips.
  • Get the listener's attention before you begin speaking.
Speak naturally
  • Speak at a normal conversational level, avoiding loud, exaggerated speech.
  • Do not speak too quickly.
  • Pronounce your words clearly and allow the listener time to fully comprehend the conversation.
  • Rephrase a sentence rather than simply repeating it, as some phrases are easier to lip read than others.

Cleaning

  • Clean your hearing aids every day. Use a soft cloth, tissue or special hearing aid brush to wipe the outside. Never use alcohol or cleansers. They harm the internal components and circuitry.
  • Use a dehumidifier kit regularly to prevent moisture from entering the hearing aids and damaging the components. You may be able to purchase one from your hearing healthcare professional.
  • Use a wax loop or brush to remove ear wax and other debris. Never use a straight pin or other sharp object to clean wax from your hearing aids.
  • Replace behind-the-ear earmolds when they become dry, cracked, stiff or discolored.

Storing

  • Store hearing aids in a cool, dry place.
  • Open the battery doors when they're not in use.
  • Protect your hearing aids from excessive heat (hair dryer, vehicle glove compartment or dashboard).

Care

  • Do not get hearing aids wet. Remove hearing aids when swimming, showering, perspiring, etc.
  • Apply hair care products before putting on your hearing aids.
  • Take your hearing aids to your hearing healthcare professional for regular servicing and performance checks.
  • Avoid dropping or banging your hearing aids on hard surfaces.

Batteries

  • Store batteries in a dry, safe location away from children and pets.
  • Replace dead batteries immediately.
  • Always recycle or discard batteries carefully.