Sounds Like Trouble: Common Problems With Hearing Aids
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Hearing loss is a common issue for many seniors. But by no means are they the only group of people affected by it. Many younger people experience hearing loss for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, genetic conditions like Meniere’s disease can cause us to experience problems with our hearing in our 30s or even in our 20s.
An excess of sodium or caffeine can also exacerbate this imbalance of the fluids in the inner ear which leads to nerve damage and a decline in hearing. That’s just one of the reasons why millennials in particular are prone to hearing loss.
If you spend a lot of time listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts on your headphones, this can also lead to damage to your ears which may result in permanent hearing loss over time. Whatever your age and whatever the extent of your hearing loss, seeking out an audiologist and getting a hearing aid fitted should be your first call.
A hearing aid can make it easier to follow conversations, prevent voices from getting lost in crowded rooms, and help you to feel more attuned to the world around you. That said, a hearing aid (while a miraculous instrument) is not a magic panacea for hearing loss. It’s common to experience some teething problems as you get to know your new hearing aid. Here are some common hearing aid problems and what you can do about them…
Sound is tinny and distorted
Many hearing aid users find that their new instruments represent something of a learning curve. When they first try them on, the sound coming from them may feel tinny and distorted. A lot of people compare the sound to playback from an old fashioned analog tape recorder or dictaphone. But no fear, this will subside in time.
Remember that your brain will have gone years or even decades without processing sensory input from your ears and may need to re-learn what it’s like to hear, especially if your hearing is markedly worse in one ear than the other.
Your own voice sounds REALLY loud
Another common teething problem is that new hearing aid wearers find that their voice feels extremely loud and booming. This is another thing that they will get used to as they become more accustomed to wearing their hearing aids. You’ll unconsciously soften your voice and it will sound much less conspicuous.
Even the most sophisticated hearing aids can be prone to feedback (whistling or screeching) every once in a while. This usually means that the inductor tube has become clogged with ear wax, which is why regular hearing aid cleaning is so important. It may also mean that the tube has become bent or damaged. However, when feedback is persistent, it may mean that the instrument has been improperly fitted and you should talk to your audiologist to iron out any kinks in the fitting.
Finally, headaches can be common for nascent hearing aid users. This may be a result of having the settings too high and you need to tinker with your unit’s calibration. It may also be a problem with how they are fitted or setup. Again, this is why it’s important to have your hearing aid set up by a trained audiologist rather than buying one off the shelf.