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  • Charlene Coetzee

Make the most of your hearing aids

Whether you are new to hearing aids, or you’re an experienced hearing aid user, or perhaps you only know someone who wears hearing aids, this article could be very helpful or even a complete game-changer.

Golden rule no 1: Make sure whoever you wish to hear best, is within the microphone pick-up range. And educate the family too!

Few people realise that the real “magic” any hearing aid could do, happens best in a circumference of 2m around you. Speech that is farther away, which you may hope to hear, could be greatly affected when it falls outside of this range and any sophisticated noise management systems within the hearing aids could sadly be impeded. Therefore, it is important to seat your favourite companion closest to you whenever you are enjoying dinner with a large group 😉. Likewise, remind your spouse its best not to speak to you from a great distance at home (or from another room!) but rather to be mindful of the reach of the microphones.

Golden rule no 2: Understand the acoustics of your environment and your position within it.

Your surrounding can greatly affect the hearing aid’s functioning. Whenever noise is present, low ceilings and hard surfaces make sound echo and hearing speech clearly could be considrably harder. In contrast, rooms with soft furnishings like curtains and carpets, help to absorb any noise and the result is hearing conversations far better.

Likewise, by sitting at a corner table in a restaurant you are reducing the noise to some extent compared to a table in the middle of the restaurant where noise is coming to you from all directions. By further seating yourself facing the corner, you are giving the hearing aids the best chance of amplifying only the person/s you want to hear. Most hearing aids use directional microphones in noisy environments. This means the back facing microphones get switched off to focus on sound straight ahead of you. And if you are facing the corner with the back microphones disabled, you are effectively excluding noise as much as possible and supporting the hearing aids in amplifying only the speech you hope to hear.

Golden rule no 3: Make adjustments to the hearing aids’ functioning when needed.

Modern hearing aids are intelligent and often adjust to your environment automatically (depending on the level of technology) and usually it is highly efficient at this. However, it could occasionally make incorrect assumptions: when, for instance, the table immediately to you right includes a particularly loud talker, your hearing aid may assume this is the speech you wish to hear. Being able to adjust the focus of the hearing aids in this instance may be especially useful and is recommended. The latest hearing aids work with smartphone apps that offer a range of possible adjustments that is easy and simple to use.

Golden rule no 4: Ensure good maintenance and annual check-ups.

Replace blocked wax guards whenever needed and/or change tubing regularly to guarantee the instruments are performing its best. Use dry-kits to combat moisture damage and ensure regular hearing and hearing aid check-ups by an Audiologist to spot any trouble early on.

Golden rule no 5: Find an excellent Audiologist.

This is the secret ingredient in any hearing improvement journey. If your goal is simply to hear better, then a good Hearing Aid Dispenser will suffice. But should you wish to truly hear the best you can, then you need an excellent Audiologist. These are a rare breed but fortunately you can find one fine example here at Farnham Hearing.

Charlene is an experienced Audiological Scientist (posh language for "she really knows her stuff"), and genuinely enjoys helping people to maximise their hearing capabilities (that special combo of subject matter expertise, tenacity, and extraordinary people skills).

Treat yourself to honest advice, exceptional care and arrange an appointment!

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