Hearing loss is common, affecting approximately 48 million people across the nation. But despite its prevalence, most people know very little about hearing aids, like how they work, how often they need to be worn and what maintenance they need.
We cover many commonly asked questions about hearing aids below.
What Exactly Are Hearing Aids & How Do They Work?
Let’s start with the basics. Hearing aids are small electronic devices that are worn in or behind your ear to help you hear.
While hearing aids come in many shapes and styles, but all have the same three basic parts: a microphone that picks up sounds in your environment, a processor that amplifies the sounds to the level you need, and a speaker that delivers the sound to your ears.
Do Hearing Aids Restore Hearing?
Hearing aids are not like glasses; you can’t simply put them in and hear like you once did. They require an adjustment period.
If you’ve gone a long time without treating your hearing loss – and most people do, waiting an average of seven to ten years – you probably will experience a phenomenon known as auditory deprivation. This means your brain has essentially “forgotten” how to process certain sounds, like the hum of the refrigerator and the chirping of birds.
This is why most hearing aid providers recommend starting off with just wearing hearing aids for a couple of hours a day, then slowly building up.
How Often Do I Need to Wear Hearing Aids?
Once you’re past the adjustment period, you should wear your hearing aids during all waking hours, except during certain activities like showering and swimming. If not, you’ll never really leave the adjustment period, and sounds will continue to sound strange and uncomfortable.
How Much Maintenance Do Hearing Aids Need?
Hearing aids are subjected to the rugged environment of your ear, meaning they are exposed to earwax, oils from your skin and hair as well as any dirt and debris you encounter. Because of this, they need to be cleaned every day.
At the end of each day, all you need to do is wipe down your devices with a soft, dry cloth and use a wax pick/wire loop to remove stubborn buildup.
We recommend bringing your devices in every six months for a deep clean and to ensure everything is working as it should. Otherwise, hearing aids only need maintenance if you encounter an issue with them, like if you experience feedback or can’t hear your conversation partner at The Burger Stand in Topeka.
For more information about hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with a hearing aid expert, call Topeka ENT today.