Support & Maintenance

Patients who are diagnosed with hearing loss and are prescribed amplification require a continual amount of support and maintenance. 

Carolyn and her staff are highly trained to guide patients through the process from hearing loss to hearing.  Initially, patients may be seen on a reqular basis for 6-8 weeks while they are relearning to hear.  Once the process is complete and the patient is successfully hearing again, a regimine will be suggested.  Typically, patients with hearing aids should receive cleanings in the office every 4-6 months to ensure everything is working properly and the amplification is maintained.  We have to remember that a hearing aid is a miniture computer with opening to allow sound to go in and come out.  These openings are affected by ear wax and perspiration.  Maintenance is key to ensure the hearing aids remain in an optimum condition for maximum hearing success.


For most patients, getting used to new hearing aids can take a little more time and effort than than they might have first imagined. However, for those who do persevere, adaptation to hearing aids is well worth it. Read on to learn how treating your hearing loss should be viewed as an ongoing process - not an event.

 
What is brain plasticity?

Brain plasticity describes the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. These changes can occur as a result of learning new things or because of damage to the brain. Up until about 50 years ago, experts believed that changes in the brain were only possible during infancy and childhood, but research has demonstrated that the brain is capable of altering existing pathways and even creating new ones, even into later life.

How does hearing loss affect the hearing system?


In the hearing system, the process of brain plasticity maps the brain areas associated with hearing to whatever sounds are being supplied by the ears. If you have an untreated hearing loss, the brain will begin to map itself to process only the sounds you hear, even if what you hear is incomplete. What the brain receives from the ears over time (even if it is a hearing loss) become accepted as the norm.

In the case of those with presbyacusis (high frequency hearing loss, which slowly progresses with age) the significance of the hearing loss is often underestimated by the affected individual, because it has declined over a very long time – often too long to notice. The brain gradually becomes comfortable with not processing the full range of sounds. Sometimes it is difficult to believe that the hearing could have changed as much as it actually has, in fact I often explain to skeptical patients that if their hearing had changed overnight, then they would have visited our office much sooner!

 Between your fitting appointment and your first follow-up appointment, your brain will learn to adapt and begin to rewire itself to the new sounds provided by hearing aids, even at this training level. As those first weeks pass, some patients have reported that the training prescription becomes too soft and ineffective; some may even question whether the hearing aids are working correctly. Just try to remember that the brain needs time to acclimatize at a conservative level first, before we can turn the hearing aids up to the optimum prescription level, and fine tune the hearing aids further.

Below is a timeline, with tips and advice for the first month as your brain rewires itself to listen to sound through a hearing aid - be aware that this may not apply entirely to your situation or rate of adaptation.

Day 1

Start by using your hearing aids at home where it is quiet on the first day. Try listening to the TV on your own, or talking to just one other person. Your own voice may sound a little strange, and you may notice more background sounds around the house. Running water, footsteps or the newspaper rustling may all sound louder and sharper than you may remember. This is normal and will dissipate in time.

Days 2 – 4

Try using the hearing aids in noisier environments, such as on a quiet street or in your yard. Hopefully, you’ll find that listening becomes a little easier each day.

Days 5 – 14

By now you should be wearing your hearing aids each day from morning to night. Take a break from wearing the aids as needed for an hour or so, but try to maintain a routine. As time goes by, you’ll get more used to the hearing aids and start to notice more benefit. Don’t forget to take them out if they might get wet, such as visiting the hair salon, when showering or when swimming!  You will typically receive a telephone call from one of the clinic staff as followup and to schedule your next in clinic appointment with Carolyn

Day 14 onwards

You should feel more confident in wearing the aids all day, from early morning to last thing at night. But don’t get disheartened if you cannot progress at this pace – everyone adapts at a different rate. Remember, it can take several months for your brain to get used to all of the sounds around you again. The world may be noisier than you remember! As the weeks pass, concentrate on focusing on what you want to hear and try to actively ignore background sounds.

Day 21 onwards

By now you may feel as if you already require more volume or prescription from the hearing aids. At the follow-up appointment you can expect Carolyn to increase the prescription of the hearing aid from the training level to a volume level more appropriate for longer term use of the hearing aid. This will allow you to hear more of the sounds you want to hear.

*Note that the interval between your fitting appointment and your follow up appointment may be shorter, or longer than one month

CLINIC LOCATIONS
 

Sahali Professional Hearing Services

#10B-1315 Summit Drive
Kamloops, BC
V2C 5R9
Phone: (250) 374-5767
corinna.betson@sahaliprohearingservices.com
www.sahaliprohearingservices.com

 

Fortune Centre Hearing Clinic

#8A - 750 Fortune Drive
Kamloops, BC
V2B 2L2
Phone: (250) 554-3706
sharon.fitzer@fortunecentrehearingclinic.com
www.fortunecentrehearingclinic.com

 

Merritt Hearing Clinic

2076A Granite Avenue
Merritt, BC
V1K 1B8
Phone: (250) 315-9688
val.clarke@sahaliprohearingservices.com
www.merritthearingclinic.com