There are several different hearing aid companies in South Africa with their own unique products. Most companies offer their own algorithm and sound with different features to improve speech discrimination especially in noisy situations. Depending on the make and model of the hearing aid, the warranty period can be anything from 12 to 36 months. The average lifespan of a hearing aid is about three to four year, depending on how it has been taken care of and how often is serviced. Like a car, hearing aids should be serviced at least once a year to ensure its optimal functioning. Most hearing aids are services for free within the warranty period.  

Hearing aids are fitted for each patient and custom ordered based on the type and style they need. Fitting the hearing aids are done by an audiologist who will set the hearing aids based on the results of the hearing evaluation. The fitting is quick and harmless and when set correctly, wearing hearing aids cannot cause any damage or harm to the patient. Regular follow-up sessions might be needed, depending on the patient’s preferences, to ensure optimal sound and usability of the hearing aids. During fitting, the audiologist will explain how to take care of the hearing aids and what to do or not do while wearing them. 

Regardless of the type of hearing aid you choose (how it physically looks), the important part of the process is to choose the technology inside the hearing aids. This is essentially what you pay for and what will enable the user to have a comfortable and optimal listening experience. The size and type of hearing aid will be chosen by the patient and the audiologist, based on the patient’s requirements, such as hand dexterity and ear canal size, as well as on the severity of hearing loss. Hearing aids only have a certain fitting range which must be matched with the patient’s hearing loss, so for example, a person with a severe hearing loss of 90dB cannot wear a small hearing aid with a maximum fitting range of 60dB, as this will not be strong enough to give the patient the required volume. 

The most commonly used types of hearing aids are:

  • Behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids
  • Custom hearing aids
  • Receiver in the Ear (RITE) hearing aids

Here is some useful information to keep in mind when considering a hearing aid.

Motivation

Advanced hearing aid technology can now compensate for most hearing losses, and individuals highly motivated to improve their hearing have an infinitely better chance of success with hearing aids.

Such motivated people recognize their hearing loss and are open to finding the best hearing aid for their needs. They tend to seek out relevant information related to their hearing loss and the technology needed to alleviate the hearing problem. The most highly motivated hearing aid candidates have a willingness to discuss their feelings about their hearing problem and explore some hearing options that might be available to them. When they are fitted with hearing aids, they eagerly explore their new technology, discuss problems during follow-up visits with their hearing healthcare professional, and patiently learn to adapt to their technology.

A positive attitude

The most important personality trait that one could possess is a positive attitude, not just toward the process of obtaining hearing aids, but toward life in general. Motivation is a key to success in finding the best hearing aid. This means a willingness to try hearing aids, adapt to new solutions, and keep frustration at a minimum when obstacles arise. If you view your circumstances as beyond your control, there’s a higher probability that you’ll be less successful in adapting to change, including hearing aid use.

Hearing aid studies have shown that people who have a positive outlook on life do better with hearing aids. They have a positive self-image and believe they’re in control of their life. My recommendation is take charge and be determined to improve the quality of your life with today’s modern hearing aids!

Controls on Your Hearing Aid

Your goal is to purchase a hearing aid that never needs adjustments. It should graciously determine the volume you need and adjust its directionality by sensing if you are in quiet or a variety of noisy situations. In addition, it should not give you feedback (whistling, buzzing or squealing) as it amplifies sounds around you. It should restore your ability to enjoy some soft sounds (e.g. leaves rustling, bubbling of a fish tank, etc) while sensing very loud sounds and making them comfortable for you (loud sounds should never be painful to your ears).

While the industry has in principle developed automatic hearing aids, some people need to personally control their hearing aids. Research has shown, especially among experienced wearers, that some people (roughly a third) still need either a volume control, multiple memory switch (quiet versus noisy situation switch) or a remote control in order to control volume or to access different hearing aid strategies for handling different listening environments.

It is very important that you determine your needs with respect to control of the hearing aid. You don’t want to fiddle with your hearing aids every ten minutes but then again you don’t want to be frustrated because your hearing aids work well in most situations but not in 10% of your favourite situations (e.g. listening to soft music). This is an area that needs to be explored with your hearing healthcare professional.

Sound Quality

One of the most important aspects of an enjoyable hearing aid experience is that you like the sound quality of hearing aids. So when you test-run your hearing aids, make sure that you consider the following dimensions of sound quality:

  • Do you like the sound of your voice?
  • Is the sound clean and crisp (sound clarity)?
  • Does it make some pleasant soft sound audible to you?
  • Are your hearing aids natural-sounding?
  • Does music sound pleasant and rich in texture?

With today’s modern digital hearing aids, most of these problems should be solved. If you notice any of these problems during the trial run and in your follow-up visits, by all means talk to your hearing healthcare professional about these issues. Such professionals are capable of adjusting your hearing aids to your satisfaction. The extent to which all of the possible sound quality issues can be resolved is of course, governed by the severity of your hearing loss. In other words, some types hearing losses are simply more conducive to restoration of rich sound quality in many listening environments while others are not.

Cosmetics

Over the past ten years the hearing aid industry has reduced the size of hearing aids to near invisibility. People can now wear them with greater comfort and we’re finding very small hearing aids have their distinct advantages such as on the telephone and in outdoor situations. Some people are concerned with cosmetics and prefer the least noticeable hearing aids, in the way that you might choose contact lenses instead of framed eyeglasses. The problem is that the smallest hearing aid may not be the most suitable hearing solution for you for a variety of reasons. Your specific hearing loss may require more power than available in the smallest hearing aids, you might not have the manual dexterity to manipulate them, or your ear canals may not allow them to be retained in your ears.

Realistic Expectations

Be patient with yourself.

If you have the best hearing aids for your hearing loss and your lifestyle, hang in there. Make sure you’re comfortable with the advice you’ve been given. Ask questions. Remember, your provider is your advocate. Satisfied hearing aid wearers are not shy when it comes to telling others about their success, but unfortunately, neither are the ones who are dissatisfied. No two people are alike, and it’s not a good idea to assume that if someone has had a bad experience, that all hearing aids are bad. You could very well be one of the overwhelming majority who has a good experience! There are many reasons why someone may not have been successful, so don’t project these conditions and improbabilities onto yourself. Also, do not expect someone else’s hearing aids to work for you. Would you wear their eyeglasses and decide whether you can be helped by glasses based on this experience?

Be realistic.

Hearing aids will not permit you to hear the flapping of hummingbird wings near a jet engine. Remember that it takes time to get used to hearing aids, especially if you’re a new wearer. Keep in mind that background noise is almost always part of your environment, and adjustment to it is required. In time, you will tune out many of these everyday sounds. It’s important not to become disappointed or frustrated while your brain begins to adjust to a whole new world of sound. If you’re an experienced wearer trying new hearing aids, understand that they might not sound like your old ones. Before you reject them, allow neural hook-ups in the auditory system to adapt to these new sounds. You just might find that you like this new sound better than the old one.

Ear Wax Protection

One of the common causes of hearing aid failure is that moisture and earwax fill up the receiver tubing of the hearing aid causing the hearing aid speaker to no longer function correctly. I strongly suggest that you purchase hearing aids with proven methods of keeping earwax out of the hearing aid. It is possible to reduce hearing aid repairs by 50% due to receiver failure by using a wax guard at the end of the hearing aids.”


Our Hearing Aid Services Include:

New fittings

Adjustment of your current hearing aids

Hearing aid repair & service

New mould / tube

Hearing aid accessories (batteries/wax guards/cleaning kits)

  • New Technology

    Hearing aids can significantly improve quality of life in many areas, including personal and social relationships and personal independence.

    Today’s hearing aids are small and sophisticated devices that includes wireless technology (e.g. bluetooth) and synchronization between the two hearing aids when fitted bilaterally.

One vs Two Hearing Aids

Two hearing instruments enable you to better localise sounds, understand speech and keep your hearing in good shape

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