When Should I Update My Hearing Aids?
The answer to this question is not as cut-and-dry as you may think. There are several factors to think about when you consider updating or upgrading your hearing aids.
Innovative new hearing aid technology is constantly addressing issues that tend to prevent optimum hearing experiences, with new functions and technological innovation. In addition, your hearing changes over time, and older hearing aids can have adjustment limitations. Here are some questions and suggestions to help you decide whether you should update your hearing aids.
Are your hearing aids functioning well?
If you have experienced the following within the past year, your hearing aids may no longer be serving your needs:
- Turning up the volume on your aids more often?
- Diminished hearing capacity in situations that were previously easier?
- Increased static or other unwanted noise from your aids?
- Trouble hearing on the phone?
- Wearing your aids is more tiring than before?
If you’ve had your hearing aids for less than 3 years, and they are no longer meeting your needs, you should talk to your hearing health provider. A provider can determine if adjustments or repairs can resolve the issues. Excess humidity and temperatures, dust and dirt buildup can signal the need for cleaning and maintenance. Without regular maintenance, the performance of your hearing aids can greatly diminish over time.
If you have had your hearing aids for more than 3 years, and especially if you are wearing older analog hearing aids, consider that there are many issues older aids cannot resolve, such as suppression of background noise and annoying whistling that are often the hallmark of analog hearing aids.
Are your current hearing aids sufficient to your needs?
It might be helpful to list the most important issues surrounding your hearing environments. Such issues might include hearing conversation at parties or in restaurants, hearing on the phone while away from home, and hearing during outdoors activities. If your current hearing devices are not delivering significant benefits in these situations, you might want to consider newer technology than can address the issues, and can be customized to your particular lifestyle and environment. Additionally, newer hearing aids can be much less obvious, with choices regarding size, hair color and skin tones, while others are designed to be invisible in the ear canal.
Are your current hearing aids sufficient for your hearing prescription?
For optimum benefit from your hearing aids, they must be set to your hearing prescription. Your hearing provider should verify for you that your aids are meeting your prescription by performing a real-ear measurement” to determine the sound levels produced by your hearing aids inside your ear canals. If these sound levels are insufficient, it may require an adjustment to the digital programming, or cleaning and/or repair. If the fitting cannot be made corrected, you might want to consider replacement.
Is the cost of upgrading worth it, in order to take advantage of new technology?
If your hearing aids are performing optimally, meet your prescription, and otherwise are not problematic, should you upgrade just to have the latest technology? To answer this, it is important to identify your current needs and wants concerning your hearing environment. New technologies can be a huge boon to your lifestyle, and here are some features that might tip the balance:
- Bluetooth technology – hands free streaming of phone calls to both hearing aids simultaneously, resulting in bidirectional hearing.
- Longer battery life with the convenience and ease of rechargeability.
- Waterproof, dustproof and shock resistant designs for active lifestyles
- Customizable programming to enhance your hearing experience
- Noise and reverberation suppressionThe bottom line is that you need to assess your level of satisfaction with your current hearing aids, list and prioritize your hearing needs and wants, and have your hearing professional evaluate your current aids. Learn about what new hearing aid technology can do to improve your hearing experience, and decide on cost versus benefit expected.
If your current hearing aids are utilizing out of date technology, and not meeting your needs, then the answer is a resounding yes! To learn more, contact us at Arizona Balance and Hearing Aids.