Tag: maintenance

Q&A: Upgrading Your Hearing Aids

Q: How often should I update my hearing devices?

A: That’s a good question we’ve addressed with many patients and their loved ones. The short answer is that a hearing device should typically be replaced about every three to six years or so.

Really, however, the answer is a bit more involved. Several factors may figure into whether it’s time to update your hearing instruments. They include:

  • Level and sophistication of the hearing technology
  • Quality of upkeep and maintenance throughout use
  • Potential changes in your hearing ability or listening lifestyle
  • Condition and performance of your existing hearing devices

Here are five potential signs you need fresh hearing technology:

Device Malfunctioning

You do all the recommended maintenance, but things still aren’t right: Replaced batteries drain quickly; sound is still muffled after you change wax guards. The occasional repair is one thing, but regular malfunctions mean it’s time to replace your devices.

Hearing Level Has Changed

Your hearing changes over time because of age, loud sounds, or other health issues. Often we can adjust your programming to meet your new needs, but sometimes your hearing changes so much that you require a different level of technology.

Often we can adjust your programming to meet your new needs, but sometimes your hearing changes so much that you require a different level of technology.

Repairs Seem Costly

With older devices, the parts are often scarce or the model is discontinued. Sometimes repairing your devices costs enough that it makes more sense to replace them with new hearing aids.

Technology Evolving

Devices have advanced significantly — with better filtering of background noise, rechargeability without the hassle of disposable batteries, tinnitus management, wireless streaming from smartphones and other audio sources, and even fall detection and built-in translation capabilities, depending on the device.

New Interests or Environments   

When your lifestyle changes, your tech might need to also. Took up a sport? You’ll probably need moisture resistance. Switched from an office job to a gig outdoors? You’ll likely experience a different  noise level now.

Hearing your best is more critical than ever in our changing world — with in-person and virtual communication both playing important roles in today’s new normal. If you think it might be time to update your hearing devices, please don’t wait. Contact us today to get your questions answered or to schedule a consultation and tech demo. We’re ‘HEAR’ to help!

Illustration of an audiologist looking at a large ear.

Hearing Care 101 – The Importance of Your Follow-Up Appointment

Q: I have a hearing aid follow-up appointment soon. What can I expect?

A: Better hearing is a journey, not a moment. Your hearing aid follow-up appointment is an important part of that journey. The more prepared you are for the follow-up, the more you’ll get out of it. Let’s take a look.


The Preparation

As much as you can between now and your follow-up, make note of how well you’re doing with your hearing aids. In what situations are you enjoying them? Which environments are challenging? Which important voices in your life still aren’t clear? Are the battery doors causing you trouble? Do they feel tight or loose in your ear? Bring your notes — and any questions you have — to your appointment.

The Conversation

This is the crux of the follow-up. Your provider will ask you questions, and vice versa. The more feedback you can offer, the better your provider can help. Every environment that gives you a challenge tells your provider valuable information about your hearing aid settings. Same with every loved one’s voice that still isn’t quite right.

But the more emotional or psychological components are key too. Your provider will want you to describe your overall impression of the hearing aids, such as what you like and don’t like, which expectations were exceeded, and which went unmet. This, too, tells your provider more than you might realize. There’s no such thing as too much feedback at a follow-up appointment!

The Refresher

You learned a lot in your evaluation and fitting appointments. Part of your follow-up appointment will be devoted to reviewing the care and maintenance of your devices. You’ll also probably get a refresher on which programs do what, how to access them, and how to use the smartphone app (if applicable).

The Adjustments

Your provider will use everything gathered in your feedback to make adjustments to your devices. This could include adding additional programs, fine-tuning existing ones, or providing you with different domes or tubing.

If some of your feedback suggests your ears and brain are having trouble working together after years of hearing loss, you might be assigned exercises to help establish a stronger ear-brain relationship. It’s a lot like physical therapy after an injury. But in this case, it will most likely be tasks done on your computer at home.

The Next Step

Your provider will probably schedule another follow-up for a couple of weeks out.

The more adjustments made or exercises assigned, the sooner it may be. Your provider wants to catch issues as soon as possible. They want you to thrive on your better-hearing journey just as much as you do!

Illustration of an audiologist speaking to two women who have question marks above their heads.

Why Do I Need a Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment?

Q: What can I expect at my hearing aid fitting?

 

A: Hearing aids are wonderful, sophisticated devices. But better hearing is a journey, not a transaction. That’s why we bring you into the office and spend some time with you answering questions and demonstrating features. Let me walk you through what the typical fitting looks like.


Making Sure Your New Hearing Aids Fit
Before anything else can happen, you have to pull your devices out of the box and slide them in your ears to ensure they fit you. If not, your audiologist will have to exchange them for ones that do, which most likely means returning for another fitting appointment.
 
Programming Your Devices and Verifying They Meet Your Specific Needs
If everything fits, your audiologist will program your hearing aids with fitting software. They’ll base the programming on your audiogram, which was developed at your hearing evaluation. Your audiogram indicates:

  • The sound frequencies that need to be amplified, and by how much
  • The sound frequencies that you can hear just fine
  • The sound frequencies that can remain loud but might need to be adjusted to minimize your discomfort

Once programmed, if your audiologist is using best practices, they’ll follow up with real-ear measurement. With this process, a slim tube microphone rests in your ear along with your hearing aid. Different sounds are played, and your audiologist can confirm for each whether the volume reaching your eardrum is the correct amount based on your audiogram.

This is where you first experience the benefits of your hearing aids. Especially for those who have a loved one with them at the appointment, this can be an emotional and profound moment.
 
Learning About Features and Maintenance
Hearing aid developers make sure today’s hearing aids are as user-friendly as possible. But you still need to learn the basics, so by the time you leave your fitting appointment, you’ll know:

  • How to change and dispose of batteries. If your hearing aids are rechargeable, you’ll learn the features of the charging station.
  • How to change programs, adjust volume, or make any other adjustments that aren’t automated.
  • How to clean and maintain your hearing aids.
  • How basic features work, such as connecting via T-coil to a looping system.
  • How advanced features work, such as streaming audio from your smartphone directly to your hearing aids.
  • How to use remote controls and other accessories.

You’ll also get an instruction guides, cleaning tools, a storage case, and a supply of batteries (or a charging station).
 
Understanding What’s Ahead
Today’s hearing aids are technologically sophisticated and easy to use, but they’re not a grab-n-go solution. Your brain is, in a sense, out of practice. All of a sudden, it has to make sense of sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time.

That’s why there is an adjustment period. Your audiologist will discuss this in more detail, so you know what to expect and don’t get discouraged. They’ll also give you a wearing schedule for the first few weeks, so you don’t overdo it. Easing you into this new world of sound is the best way to ensure success.
 
Scheduling the First Follow-Up Appointment
A skilled audiologist and advanced fitting software do a lot of the heavy lifting, but it all happens in the controlled environment of a clinic. As you live your life, you’ll enjoy the benefits of better hearing. But you’ll also notice ways your devices could help more, especially in noisy environments.

That’s why you’ll schedule a follow-up appointment. Your audiologist expects you to have feedback on how to improve your listening experience. You’ll also no doubt have questions you’ve thought of since the fitting appointment.
 
Your Hearing Care Partner
Don’t be shy. Speak up with any worries or questions. Your audiologist’s main concern is you hearing better. They’ve no doubt allotted 90 minutes to two hours for this appointment — they want you to leave the fitting appointment feeling confident and excited about the possibilities. Think of them as a knowledgeable partner eager to help you on your better-hearing journey!

Illustration of couple traveling with hearing aids

Hear Your Best On The Go

6 Tips to Keep Your Hearing Aids at Their Best

Whether youíre on the town or out of town, you depend on your hearing technology to keep you consistently connected. Donít miss a moment when youíre on the go with these tips for maximizing your hearing.

 
Protect Your Tech
Hearing aids are tiny computers ó keep them safe! If youíre in warmer climes, invest in hearing aid accessories such as a splashguard, a wind protector, or a sport clip. For those of you in less toasty towns, a hat, a scarf, or earmuffs can provide protection.

Use Geotags
Many hearing aids now come with a smartphone app that can assign a geographical “bookmark” ó or geotag ó to your favorite locations. Simply optimize your hearing aid settings for a location (for example, a coffee shop) and apply a geotag. Every time you return to that spot, the app automatically switches to your preferred settings.

Power Up
Always have extra packages of batteries on hand ó donít wait for the low-battery warning beeps from your devices. If you have rechargeables and you know youíll be gone overnight, donít forget the charger!

Keep a Kit on Hand
Whether hitting the road or just heading to the park, you never know when moisture or debris might strike. A pocket-size case filled with essential hearing aid cleaning and maintenance basics is a must. A cleaning cloth, a soft-bristle brush (like the one included with your devices), wax guards, and domes (if applicable) take up almost no space but will be lifesavers in a pinch.

Loop It
More and more public spaces are installing hearing loops. Enable the T-coil setting on your hearing aids and the loop allows you to wirelessly receive audio directly in the devices. Look for the loop logo at participating venues.

Check AGXchange
Headed out of town? Check with us to find an AGXchange practice near your destination. With an AGXchange practice, you can depend on the same level of quality hearing care youíve come to expect from us.
 

Contact us to find out more about DIY tips for caring for your hearing devices!

Water and hearing aids don't mix, but there are things you can do to help prevent or remove moisture from your hearing aids.

Q&A: Water and Hearing Aids | 6 Tips to Keep Hearing Devices Dry

Q&A: Water and Hearing Aids

Q: Are my hearing aids really kaput if they get wet?

A: If you only knew how often we get this important question. As powerful as they are, hearing aids — like all electronics — have a couple of Achilles’ heels, and one of them is water. The moisture could come from a swimming pool, a shower, or even the sweat from working out or soaking up a hot summer day, but it all comes down to this: Wetness can permanently put your hearing aids out of commission.


Of course there’s always the potential miracle — who hasn’t heard the occasional story of a friend or loved one accidentally putting their hearing technology, personal music player, smartphone, or other treasured device through the washing machine only to have it continue working without seemingly skipping a beat? That’s some rare luck, however, so it’s important to stick to prevention.

Here are six ways to help keep wetness away from your hearing aids:

  1. Avoid Moisture Altogether
    Remember to take your devices out of your ears before showering, hitting the pool, or getting into the hot tub, and be sure to store them in their own secure case rather than loose in a pocket or purse.
  2.  

  3. Wipe Them Down
    Wiping your devices daily with a clean, dry cloth helps clear moisture and debris and helps reduce the risk of damage.
  4.  

  5. Stay Vigilant
    Water-resistant hearing aids aren’t waterproof, so keep these types of devices out of the shower, pool, and hot tub, too. Otherwise, they can get damaged when immersed.
  6.  

  7. Use Hearing Aid Covers
    These handy helpers can aid in protecting your devices from water splashes and keep out dust and dirt, too.
  8.  

  9. Consider a Hearing Aid Dryer or Dehumidifier
    This small appliance not only dries and sanitizes your devices as you sleep but can also double as their regular storage container.
  10.  

  11. Keep a Hat On Hand
    You never know when an unexpected rain shower might crash your outdoor fun. Having a spare hat can help keep the rain off you as well as your hearing aids.
  12.  


Some simple steps at home can help keep your hearing aids dry and working well. Bringing them in periodically for a professional clean and check goes a long way, too. If it’s been a while since they’ve had a good once-over or they don’t seem to be operating their best, don’t delay. Schedule an appointment with our caring team today!

8 Do’s & Don’ts of Hearing Aid Maintenance this Summer

Enjoying the Sand and Waves? Protect Your Hearing Aids!: 8 Simple Do’s & Don’ts

When it comes to hearing aids, a little TLC can go a long way toward helping them perform their best. Whether your summer includes playing Marco Polo, setting sail, or just catching some sun on the sand, dive into these quick maintenance tips to keep the fun at hand.


DO

consider using a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier, which not only dries and sanitizes your devices as you sleep but can also double as their regular storage container. Convenient and easy!
 

DON’T

swim wearing hearing aids or allow water and sand on them. Along with using a dehumidifier, wipe your devices daily with a dry cloth to help clear moisture and debris and reduce the risk of damage.
 

DO

keep your hearing aids away from the summer heat, which can do a number on them. Pick a cool, dry area for storage, and avoid leaving the devices in a sunny spot or hot car.
 

DON’T

forget your hearing-aid covers, which can help protect your devices from excess moisture when summer heat and activities lead to sweating. The covers help keep out dust and dirt, too.
 

DO

give your hearing aid batteries a break. Remember at night to remove them from your devices and leave the battery door open, helping reduce moisture and maximize battery life.
 

DON’T

prematurely pull the stay-fresh tab that helps keep new hearing aid batteries from discharging early. Once the batteries activate, they can’t be deactivated, so first be sure you’re ready to use them.
 

DO

regularly change the wax guard, helping protect your devices from damaging buildup of wax, skin particles, and other debris. Putting this task on at least a monthly schedule makes for a timely reminder.
 

DON’T

fit the wrong wax guard to your device. Wax guards come in diverse sizes and types, but not every version is right for your hearing aids. We can provide or help you choose a compatible product.


Summer fun is for everyone, so maximize each day by getting the most from your hearing aids. Think of them as you would your smartphone, keeping them safe from harm’s way, and enjoy your best season yet.

5 Tips to Keep Your Technology Going Strong

Does my hearing technology call for ongoing professional upkeep? Can I handle any needed maintenance at home? How can I tell whether my devices are damaged? Where can I take them for replacement or repair?

Much like today’s tablets and cell phones, hearing aids are powered by complex technology that may require professional attention in certain circumstances, but a little DIY maintenance can go a long way in keeping your devices in top shape. Read on for five simple tips to maximize your tech’s longevity.

Keep ‘Em Dry and Sanitized
Water is kryptonite to hearing aids, so remember to
remove them before showering or swimming, and use a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier not only to reduce moisture but to sanitize and store your technology at the same time.

Wipe Off the Wax
Earwax (also called cerumen) naturally accumulates
in the ear and on your hearing aid, but gently wiping your devices each night with a soft, dry cloth and clearing the part of the device that goes into your ear canal with the provided brush will make quick work of the buildup.

Check the Batteries
Batteries typically can last from a few days to a
couple weeks depending on the technology, usage, and other factors, but a constantly beeping hearing aid may mean the batteries need changing. Always keep spares on hand, and remember to remove and store batteries at room temperature apart from your hearing aids when not wearing them.

Replace the Wax Guard
Put your hearing aid’s wax guard — which helps
protect against the damaging accumulation of wax, skin particles, and debris — on a monthly change schedule. Also, if your technology isn’t functioning properly even with fresh batteries, it may be time to change the wax guard.

Skip the Pockets
Pockets seem naturally convenient for carrying
loose hearing aids and batteries while on the go, but not so fast! Keep your devices in their case to avoid losing or getting debris on them, and place batteries where they won’t come into contact with keys, coins, and other metals, which can cause battery discharge and other problems.

Self-care of your hearing aids is an important part of keeping them performing their best, and periodic clean and checks with our caring professionals will identify and address any damage or other problems that might otherwise be hard to spot. Contact us to schedule a complimentary clean and check today!

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries……must we change them so frequently?

Hearing aids have turned into mini-computers. The current hearing technology on the market is processing so much information in the little computers and the amplifiers are driving louder decibels for patients to hear better that it is hard to imagine the hearing aids drain batteries so quickly. But, yes, the average battery typically lasts about a week if the aids are work about 14 hours per day.

Resound-alera-small-wireless-digital-hearing-aid

Also batteries in the United States have gone through some changes in the last few years. Many of the batteries are mercury free and are now green for the environment. Unfortunately that affect the voltage initially, but the battery manufacturers have recommended new batteries need air/oxygen prior to activation and use. So very important to know that prior to use of each battery, to remove the tab and allow at least one minute of air/oxygen to activate the battery prior to insertion into the hearing device. That has helped battery performance to be more consistent for the most part since the mercury changes.

If you have further battery questions, please feel free to contact our office. We are happy to help. So give us a call today!

Sincerely,

Dr. Stephanie R. Moore
Audiologist

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Make sure you can hear it by scheduling a holiday clean and check today

The holidays are already upon us – is your hearing technology ready?

A simple clean and check of your devices—one that removes the dirt and oil that can build up on your devices through regular use—can help ensure your conversations this holiday season take less effort, delivering clarity and comfort with each interaction.

The holidays can be a pretty busy time for everyone, including our office, so be certain to make an appointment—we don’t want you to miss a thing this holiday season! You may even want to schedule an ear cleaning in addition to having your devices cleaned.

Does your technology have fresh batteries? It is never a bad idea to put new batteries in your devices before attending an important get-together. If you’re traveling for the holidays, we recommend you bring along a better-hearing supply kit: extra batteries, a hearing instrument cleaning brush, hearing instrument cleaning wipes, and—if you have them—an old set of devices, just in case.

Attending an important dinner? Dinner conversation can be noisy and full of distractions whether you have a hearing difficulty or not, so ask to sit in the seat that best suits your hearing needs for a more relaxed, conversation-filled evening.