When you are first fitted with a hearing aid, I am sure many of you wonder how long will this hearing aid last? If you have not read our care and maintenance blog then I would highly recommend you do so, as caring for your hearing aid correctly can prolong its lifespan.
Reasons why you should upgrade your hearing aids?
- Advances in technology
If you find yourself on the fence as to whether you should upgrade your hearing aids, I recommend that you book a hearing aid discussion appointment with us and we can inform you of the latest hearing aid technology and if it would be beneficial for you to upgrade. We can also organize a trial so that you can experience the hearing aid before purchasing. Advances in technology may include improvement of hearing speech in noise, Bluetooth and clearer sound.
- Deterioration in hearing
It is very important that you visit your audiologist once a year (at a minimum) for an annual hearing check-up. It is possible that your hearing may have deteriorated, and your hearing aid no longer provides sufficient amplification to give you full access to speech sounds. A more powerful hearing aid may be needed.
- Deterioration in speech understanding
Your hearing loss may not have changed or deteriorate but you feel that your ability to understand speech has deteriorated. It is important to communicate this to your audiologist. Speech testing which is part of a hearing assessment can also alert your audiologist to a change in your speech understanding. It may be time to upgrade your hearing aids to a higher-level of technology. A hearing aid of a higher level of technology can replicate sound more accurately (better matched to original sound) which makes it easier for your brain to understand and interpret, thus improve your speech understanding.
- Accommodate new communication needs
It could be that you have started a new job which brings new communication challenges or have started struggling in meetings. This is a good time to upgrade your hearing aids to a newer model hearing aid which has more sophisticated technology enabling you to cope better in more challenging listening environments. If you struggle hearing someone on a cell phone, you may want to consider hearing aids with Bluetooth which stream sound directly to the hearing aid.
- Change in eyesight or dexterity
If you have hearing aids which use disposable batteries and are struggling to open the battery door and change them, it may be a good idea to explore rechargeable hearing aids. You would simply need to place them on the charger at night and take them out the charger to wear them during the day. As you may know many people rely on lip-reading, body language and other visual ques to communicate. If one’s eyesight deteriorates you may need to consider upgrading your hearing aids as your brain will have to rely more heavily on your auditory pathway to communicate, thus it is important that the signal which your brain receives is as clear as possible.
- Warrantee expiry
Most hearing aid companies have a three-year warrantee on their hearing aids and support the product for several years once the warrantee has expired. If you are currently wearing a hearing aid which is out of warrantee and needs a service, we can send your hearing aid to the manufacture for a repair quote (depending on the manufacturer). The amount of damage on the hearing aid will determine the cost of the repair and if the repair quote is very expensive it may be worth considering purchasing new hearing aids.
Know your Medical Aid benefits
Lastly, it is important to know your Medical Aid benefits. Find out how much your Medical Aid pays towards hearing aids. Do they pay a certain amount every year or is it every 3 years etc?
Some medical aids require the audiologist to write a motivation, provide a quotation for the hearing aids and copy of the patients hearing test results. The paperwork takes time as the medical aid needs to process the application, therefore, do not leave it too late in the year to consider getting hearing aids. If you would like to get hearing aids before the end of the year, I highly recommend booking an appointment as soon as possible so that we can start the process.
If you are on the fence as to whether you need hearing aids or should upgrade your hearing aids, book an appointment and we can give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Knowledge is power and information is liberating.
– By Anne Budden