Behind-the-ear – Hearing aid worn behind the ear, and connected to an earpiece through which sound is delivered to the ear. The amplifier is large, making sound louder than with smaller models. A cheaper type of hearing aid but easily seen.
Body-worn – Hearing aid consists of earphones that are connected to a tiny box, which can be clipped on to your clothes. Controls are simple to change.
Bone Conduction – Hearing aid suited to those with conductive hearing loss as sound is delivered through vibrations. Sound is gathered through a microphone and sent to the hearing aid, which is held against the bone at the back of the ear by a headband.
In-the-ear – Hearing aid is discreetly placed in the ear. The amplifier is weaker than with larger models due to its size, and is therefore unsuitable for those with severe hearing loss.
Completely-in-the-ear – Hearing aid is unsuitable for those with severe hearing loss due to the size of the amplifier, and is even more discreet than in-the-ear models.
CROS – Hearing aid only for those with hearing in one ear. The apparatus is placed in the working ear, and is able to pick up sounds from the side with no hearing.
BiCROS – Hearing aid for those with no hearing in one ear, and some form of hearing loss in the other. It is able to pick up sounds from the side with no hearing, increasing the sound level.
Disposable – Disposable hearing aids usually last ten weeks, and are available from private suppliers, but not the NHS. They usually cost about £25, and are suited to those with mild and moderate hearing loss.
Adjusting to your Hearing Aid
It will take time for you to adjust to your hearing aid, at first seeming uncomfortable, and the sound unnatural. But with time, often taking a couple of months, you will become used to it.
Rather than straight off wearing your hearing aid throughout the day, which can cause pain to your ear, it is best to steadily increase the amount you wear it over time.
To start off, try listening to normal sounds in and around the house. This will help to get used to the different way things now sound.
Next, try conversing with one individual. Once you become used to this you can try talking within a group of people.
Finally, once you feel confident using your hearing aid in the above environments, it is time to try it in loud places, such as a bar.
Getting to know the Controls
Controls will vary for different models.
Settings – There are different settings available on many models, which will change the way things sound, benefiting different places such as loud bars, or when talking one on one with a person.
Volume – Several hearing aids offer an automatic system that changes the volume, while others will have a switch to regulate sounds levels.
‘T’ Setting – This is available in many hearing aids, and offers the ability to use specialist equipment with your hearing aid, such as adapted televisions and telephones.
Two Hearing Aids – It is imperative you make sure the equilibrium is accurate if you have two hearing aids. Your specialist should explain such matters to you, and help make sure the proportion is correct.
Cleaning your Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are delicate and require proper care to remain in good working order. There are two main types when it comes to cleaning them, each kind usually needing to be cleaned at least once a week. You should always read the instructions provided as this segment is merely a general guide.
Behind-the-ear – You will first need to detach the hearing aid from the tubing and ear piece. The hearing aid should then be cleaned with tissue, and the tubing and ear piece with tepid water, waiting until dry to wear again. Tubing will likely have to be changed around every five months
In-the-ear – Do not clean with fluid, but with a cloth for the entire apparatus. This is because it may become damaged when wet. Special information and a pack should be provided to help remove any earwax.
If sound is becoming weak it is likely time to change the batteries. It is advised you carry an extra set with you at all times. Follow the instructions provided with your hearing aid.
If you got your hearing aid from NHS you can usually get new batteries from the NHS hearing aid centre, or at many local health centres. If needed, get in touch with your specialist.
If bought privately, then you can get replacement batteries from pharmacies or chemists, or if needed, get in touch with your supplier.
If you are having problems try the following before contacting your supplier:
- Read through the instructions to find information on the problem
- Have the batteries run out?
- Is there any earwax blocking the earpiece?
- Is it turned on properly?
- Are any of the components broken or loose?
- Is it on the correct setting?
- Is the volume level on the correct setting?
- Are the batteries correctly slotted in?
- Is there any liquid that may have harmed the innards of the hearing aid?
- Is the earpiece properly inserted?
If you are unable to solve the problem then do not be afraid to contact your supplier.