5 Steps to hearing aids

The first and hardest step for many is the first one, which is making an appointment for a hearing test.

Research has shown it takes people 7 to 10 years to do something about their hearing loss. Of course, while you are getting used to the idea that you may have some hearing loss, you miss conversations and connections with people every day.

Adapting to hearing loss by changing the way you live your life

When you have hearing loss, you will “train” the people around you to adjust to your hearing loss so they can communicate with you.

Every time you do not hear (or understand) what was said and you respond with “pardon”, “what was that” “could you please say that again” or “what”, friends and family learn they need to speak louder so, they do not have to repeat themselves. As time goes by, they may end up speaking louder, or they may choose not to share incidental comments or jokes.

You may start to make different decisions on how you will use your time (like avoiding social situations and communicating less). Hearing loss impacts the way you live your life. There is also a lot of new research showing other long-term effects of hearing loss when left untreated.

Diagram showing the process an approximate timeline for the life cycle of a pair of hearing aids

Getting hearing aids

Step 1: Book a time to see us

The first easy step is to book a hearing test. The hearing test will give you a clearer idea about your type and degree of hearing loss and how this is affecting the way you live your life. For example, your hearing test may explain why you can hear some sounds as well as everyone else, but you can’t follow the conversation when it is noisy or if the person speaking is not facing you. At this point, we will suggest options to help with your hearing; if we need to refer you to a medical specialist, we will refer you to the best specialist for your needs.

The next question is, “Do you need hearing aids?”Your audiologist will discuss the potential benefits of wearing hearing aids. Your family may have an opinion about how hearing aids will help you.  However, it is essential that once you decide to get hearing aids, you are taking this step for yourself (not because of other people’s opinions). Indeed, other people in your life are probably affected by your hearing loss. However, it is better for everyone if getting hearing aids is your choice.

Diagnostic hearing test

Step 2: Hearing Assessment & Discussion

A full diagnostic hearing test will clarify your hearing levels and help identify possible causes of your hearing loss.

Showing Audiogram

The cause of hearing loss can be:

  • conductive – A blockage reduces sound from passing through the outer or middle ear causing hearing loss
  • sensorineural – where the cochlear is not able to detect all the sounds
  • an auditory processing disorder (APD) – where the brain cannot process the sound that is detected by your ears.

Your Audiologist will discuss your test results. If there is hearing loss, we will let you know why and how it affects your ability to understand people speaking, even though you can hear some sounds easily. At this point, we will refer you to any other professionals for further assessment or management if needed.

If you are interested, we will tell you a bit about hearing aids and possible options that might suit you. You can even have a listen through some hearing aids.

Step 3: Needs Assessment

Once you have decided to learn more about hearing aids, we will go through our needs assessment process. We will ask you questions about your lifestyle and hearing challenges. From here, we can decide on the hearing aid features and level of technology that suits you best. At this point, we create a list of situations where you would like to hear and communicate better. When choosing hearing aids for you, we take into account your:

  • Hearing loss and other physical factors
  • Lifestyle and your hearing needs
  • Preferences, i.e. what the hearing aid will look like or specific functionality
  • Funding and budget – you may be eligible for funding from a government agency.
Hearing aid conversation

Your hearing aid trial

Once you have decided to trial hearing aids, the process usually takes four to six weeks. The eight-week trial period allows you to be confident that you hear well with your hearing aids in various listening environments. Depending on your type and degree of hearing loss, it takes a few days to a few weeks to adjust to hearing sound again. Eight weeks is plenty of time for you to go through the adaptation process and get used to your new hearing aids.

Hearing aids are always paid for in full before taking them home. If you decide that hearing aids are not for you, you can hand them back within the eight-week time frame. If you do, we will refund you the cost of the hearing aids minus the deposit (which covers some of the time we spent with you). We also have the option of changing to other hearing aids at this time if needed.

From the first visit, I had total confidence in her as I went through this journey to be able to regain my hearing. I was never pressured to purchase any particular brand, nor was I pressured to purchase aids that were beyond what I needed. As a result, I am very happy with the aids that I now use, and with the follow up I received and will continue to receive.
The Auckland Hearing Team were a delight to deal with, and I thoroughly recommend them if you are ready to get hearing aids.
Grant Waldrom, Orewa

Step 4: Hearing Aid Fitting Appointment

Our main goal at the fitting is to get you comfortable with the sound and management of your new hearing aids.  We will:

  • Calculate the sound required and program your hearing aids specifically for your hearing loss.
  • Do real-ear measures – use a small soft microphone to measure the sound in your ear canal.  Real-ear measures verify that the hearing aids have the right amplification to compensate for your hearing loss.
  • Discuss the management of hearing aids, including putting them in your ears, adjusting them, setting up remote control apps on your phone, cleaning and care and using the phone
  • Talk to you about how it takes time to adjust to hearing sound again and the importance of wearing the hearing aids as much as you can.
  • Book the follow-up appointment – in 1 or 2 weeks.
Hearing aid fitting - with real-ear measures

Follow up appointments

Hearing aid conversation

Follow up appointments allow us to check how you are going with the hearing aids and make adjustments, as required. Usually, people have got used to the initial settings of the hearing aids and are ready for a clearer sound. The number of follow up appointments required will vary for different clients.

Step 5: Finalising your hearing aids

Finalising means that you are happy with your hearing aids and have decided you want to keep them. We will not schedule another appointment at this time. However, you are welcome to contact us again if you have further questions or need adjustments to your hearing aids.

6 Months of appointments included

We include all the appointments up until 6 months in your initial fitting fees.  That way, we can make sure your hearing aids are working well for you.

Ongoing care of your hearing and hearing aids

Warranty repairs

It is worth having your hearing aids sent off for a check over before your warranty expires. We will contact you before your warranty expires; this gives you the option to bring your hearing aids in so they can be sent off to the manufacture for a check-over. In many cases, the hearing aids are replaced or repaired under warranty, giving you refurbished hearing aids moving forward.

Hearing test and hearing aid adjustment appointments – every two years

Every two years, we recommend you have a hearing test and hearing aid adjustment appointment, or sooner if you notice a change in your hearing. We will check your hearing aids over and make sure they are working as they should. If your hearing aids are not working as expected, we will send them off for repair. Then we will test your hearing and adjust your hearing aids to your current hearing levels. We often notice a change in hearing after two years and you will leave the clinic hearing sharper and clearer. These appointments ensure you continue to hear as well as possible with your hearing aids.

Each year in between we will send you an email each year, just checking in and asking how you are going with your hearing aids.

Maree contacted me recently, and I went in for another check where she gave my hearing aids a tune-up to maintain their efficiency. With my slowly deteriorating hearing, I hadn’t noticed I didn’t hear as clearly as before. I was surprised at how much more I could hear once my hearing aids were adjusted. Excellent service indeed!

Max Ross, Auckland CBD

Replacing your hearing aids

Traditionally hearing aids lasted about 4-5 years as they would be affected by wax, moisture, dust and dirt. Now, most hearing aids are covered by high tech coatings that make them much more resistant to moisture.

Hearing aid lifetime – It is not possible to tell how long these current aids will last but with proper care. They will last at least 6 years as the whole system is New Zealand is centred around this time frame (as this is the timeframe of the funding cycles). Well cared for hearing aids can last longer and they can usually be repairs after six years. You will need regular hearing assessments and adjustments over that time to keep them working the best for you.

Insurance – Please list your hearing aids on your insurance policy just in case they get lost or something happens to them. We will give you a letter to take to your insurance company so they know the exact hearing aid model that you have.

As an Auckland Hearing client, you will become part of our Auckland Hearing community. As long as you are interested, we will keep you up to date about the hearing world from hearing care to the latest hearing aids.

Please feel free to browse among the other articles about hearing loss and hearing aids.

A bit about Auckland Hearing

Maree and Yvonne- your friendly Audiologists at Auckland Hearing

Auckland Hearing is a hearing aid and audiology clinic and is part of the Dilworth Hearing family.  Yvonne and Maree are your Audiologists. We have a focus on quality care. By understanding the needs of each client, we will tailor the best solution to ensure optimal long-term outcomes.

Shirley is our practice manager, she will answer the phone when you call and welcome you to the clinic.

We provide a full range of hearing services and work with all of the Ministry of Health approved hearing aid brands in New Zealand. This means we can fit the hearing aids that best suit your needs.

Call Shirley to book your appointment now