A hearing aid professional smiling while consulting with a customer on a video call

Why You Should Regularly Consult a Hearing HCP

Published: October 12, 2020

Updated: December 8, 2021

At an initial hearing aid fitting appointment a hearing healthcare professional (HCP) will give you your new hearing aids. You will also be provided with a lot of information regarding the aids and their features.  This is not where your hearing aid journey ends, however, the fitting of a hearing aid is an ongoing process. The reason you should regularly consult with your hearing HCP is to monitor the progress and success of the fitting. These contact sessions will result in lasting satisfaction for the duration of your hearing aid use. 

A major problem that many users experience at the start of their hearing aid journey is adapting to their hearing aids. During the initial fitting, the hearing aids are programmed in a quiet environment and you may be satisfied with them in this quiet space. However, once you leave that environment, the sound from the hearing aids may be different and may seem uncomfortable. The hearing aids, therefore, may need to be adjusted a few times in the first few months so that your listening experience will be as comfortable as possible. A hearing healthcare provider may optimize the hearing aid by adjusting the volume, providing hearing aid programs, or fine-tuning the hearing aids. Once you become comfortable with your hearing aids, you may not have to be in contact with the hearing healthcare provider for some time; however, it is vital to maintain regular contact annually or whenever a problem arises.

Reasons why you should have regular contact with a hearing HCP

Providing information

You can tell the hearing HCP how you are adjusting to your hearing aids.  They can then provide you with some additional advice on how to adapt to your device and use it to its fullest benefit. It’s useful to write down any complaints or issues you have with your hearing aids so that you don’t forget what they are. A hearing HCP may also share additional information including how to care for your hearing aids, and they can demonstrate again and explain the importance of replacing the battery, teach you daily listening checks and ensure that you can do them by yourself. This information will be reviewed at every follow-up appointment. During this time, a hearing HCP may also go over your hearing aid warranty coverage.

Adjustment of hearing aids

The adjustment of your hearing aids is necessary as your listening needs or hearing loss may change and consequently influence the proper functioning of your hearing aids. In many cases, you might find yourself having trouble hearing in specific listening situations, whether it is at work or the supermarket. Any changes to your hearing or difficulties that you experience are important information to give to your hearing HCP so that they can make the correct adjustments to accommodate your listening needs.

Annual checkups

Your hearing loss will never be stable, and it will change throughout your life, which is especially true for age-related hearing loss. Monitoring your hearing involves a hearing test to see whether your hearing thresholds have changed. In return, it can help determine whether your hearing aids are providing enough amplification for your loss. If your hearing changes, your hearing aids might amplify too much or not enough, and you might not be satisfied with them. Amplification adjustments can then be made based on the updated hearing check information. 

Cleaning of hearing aids and replacement of slim tubes or other tubing

You must keep your hearing aids clean at all times.  However, a hearing HCP may need to do additional cleaning of the hearing aids by removing wax blockages or any other debris that may be present around the microphone or receiver. Blockages could stop the sounds from entering your ear. At this point, a hearing HCP may examine your ear canal for wax build-up. Besides the above, the slim tube or other tubing should be replaced every six to twelve months.  A hearing healthcare provider may replace the tubing for you. The reason being that due to the acidity of our skin and the possible exposure to sunlight, the tubing can become hard and brittle, and this can cause discomfort and reduction in sound. 

Verification

When visiting a hearing healthcare provider, they should verify and ensure that your hearing aids are working correctly, and that they are providing appropriate amplification that matches your hearing loss.  

Replacement of hearing aids

Advances in hearing aid technology have lead to improvements in the effectiveness of hearing aids, wireless connections, increased amplification possibilities, and decreased feedback.  Upgrading your hearing aids to one’s fitted with newer technology may require that follow-up appointments start all over again. 

Without these follow-up services, you may stop using your hearing aids because you might not be satisfied with the sound quality of the newer hearing aids,

Remote care possibilities

These follow-up appointments don’t only have to be face-to-face; you should also feel free to call a hearing healthcare provider to assist you.  Many of the latest hearing aid models can be adjusted via mobile apps which opens up a whole range of possibilities with regards to telehealth and remote access to hearing healthcare.  These apps can now connect you to a hearing expert via calls or video calls.  It is now a lot more convenient and affordable to have regular contact with a hearing healthcare provider, and it has become easier to keep your hearing aid functioning at a top-level. 

Image of post writer Lisa Brown.

Written by Lisa Brown

MA Audiology; B.Communication Pathology Audiology

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