Operating a hearing aid
My hearing aid or ear-piece hurts when I’m putting it into my ear.
You may be fitting the hearing aid or ear-piece incorrectly or it may need adjustment by your Audiologist.
My hearing aid has a push button – on one setting I hear nothing but a buzzing noise.
You have probably activated the loop (or telecoil) setting. If you are not close to a loop system, the aid may just buzz. Go back to your normal microphone setting if you did not want to use the loop. If you are trying to use the loop, check that the loop system you are using is switched on and working.
When my hearing aid is on the loop position, I can’t hear my friend sitting beside me.
Just as it should be! The loop position cuts out the normal microphone so that you only hear the sound from the loop system. Most modern hearing aids can be adjusted by your Audiologist to allow the loop and microphone to work at the same time if you would prefer this.
When I turn up my volume control, the hearing aid whistles.
Beyond a certain volume level, the hearing aid or ear-piece may not be able to prevent the hearing aid from whistling (see Whistling and Other Noises section on the left) and may need adjustment by your Audiologist.
My specialist talks about ‘different programmes’ but I don’t know what this means.
Many hearing aids have different ‘programmes’ or ‘settings’ to make the hearing aid more suitable for different listening situations.
These might include when listening in background noise, listening to music or when using the loop system. There should be a button or switch to change the ‘programme’ or ‘setting’.
Will a hearing aid cure my hearing loss?
No. A hearing aid helps with hearing loss by making sounds louder in the ear but does not return the function of the ear to ‘normal’.
Some hearing losses can be improved by medical treatment or surgery and your GP or Audiologist should have referred you for assessment by a specialist ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor if this was likely to be the case.
Should I have one hearing aid or two?
It is now generally accepted that two hearing aids should be fitted where the hearing loss is in both ears. There may be situations where two aids are not advised perhaps due to the level of hearing loss or due to the condition of your ear and if this is the case, your Audiologist will discuss this with you.
What advantage is there in having two aids?
- Help with locating sounds
- Helps hearing better in noisy situations
- Hear speakers on both sides of you
- Balanced hearing levels
- Some studies suggest that it may be helpful in the long term to keep an ear stimulated rather than leaving it without a hearing aid.
Will wearing hearing aids make my hearing worse?
Hearing aids will not make your hearing worse so long as they are fitted using an accurate hearing test.
My ear gets hot and damp when I am wearing my hearing aid, what can I do about it?
A hearing aid stops warm and moist air from escaping from your ear canals - some ear pieces/hearing aids have a small hole or air vent running right through them to allow air to circulate.
Your Audiologist may be able to add this to your ear piece/hearing aid but if this is not suitable, just remove the hearing aid occasionally during the day to allow your ear to ‘breathe’.
Analogue versus digital
I’m not happy with my new digital hearing aid. I preferred analogue aids. Can I change back?
Analogue aids are no longer manufactured by hearing aid companies worldwide. Whilst this advancement is generally good news, a small proportion of experienced analogue hearing aid users notice a difference in what they hear and want to change back to analogue as they find it difficult to adapt to the difference in the sound.
Why does it sound different?
Patients who have had analogue hearing aids for years have often become accustomed to the analogue processing of sound from these types of hearing aid as the brain becomes adapted to this type of sound output. When the individual is refitted with digital hearing aids with different sound processing and features, they are often perceived as sounding ‘quieter’. The digital hearing aids often have a clearer sound and not so much harmonic distortion in the sound signal, which is something that long-term analogue aid users have got used to, but is actually a negative effect caused by the limitations of analogue technology .
Equally some of the additional features in a digital aid such as Wide Dynamic Range Compression (which helps quiet sounds to become audible, speech to be amplified to a comfortable level and to prevent loud sounds from sounding uncomfortable), noise reduction and feedback management alter the sound in comparison to an analogue hearing aid.
What can I do?
If you have been using analogue hearing aids for several
years you are asking your brain to unlearn (often in a fairly short period of time) the sound it has become used to, and to adjust to listening and functioning at the same level with a completely different sound. It does take a long time. The brain has a property called plasticity which means that it is able to relearn and mould itself to new things, so the good news is that over time many people do get used to their new digital hearing aid. It takes time and perseverance.
It is possible for an audiologist to programme the digital aid to mimic the sound processing of an analogue hearing aid, but even when this is done many patients report that it does not sound the same.
Contact your audiologist if you need any advice or support regarding your hearing aids.