Putting on new hearing aids is nothing like putting on new eyeglasses and being able to see clearly right away. "I thought that everything seemed too loud," a shopper said. "The audiologist said it takes time for my brain to get used to processing things I have not heard for a long time."
Although 26 percent of survey respondents never had a follow-up appointment, we strongly recommend scheduling at least one. Most providers include that service in their fee. Adjustments for a hearing-aid fitting might include changing the device's electronic settings, reworking an uncomfortable earmold, or getting a completely different hearing aid.
Practice everyday activities using the aids. "A hearing aid is not just an electronic device," says Brenda Battat, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, a support and advocacy group. "It's part of a whole rehabilitative treatment." She suggests calling and listening to long-winded toll-free messages at the Social Security Administration or IRS.
Note any environments where you have problems. One of our shoppers, a musician, couldn't tolerate a flutter heard at certain pitches with the first set of aids he purchased. The provider told him that was just the way the aids sound. But the second pair our shopper purchased for our study worked fine, with no flutter.
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