Note from Dr. Tammy Flodmand: Last time, we discussed adjusting to new hearing aids. That is, without a doubt, the hardest part of getting a hearing aid. But, there are certainly many questions that people don’t even know to ask when they get new aids. Keep sending me those great questions!

Q: How often do I need to clean my hearing aid? – Diedra, Bronx, NY

A: This depends entirely on how much wax your ears produce and what type of environments you are in. Some people need to clean their hearing aids every single morning…others will rarely clean them.

Every morning, inspect the part of the hearing aid that goes in your ear for wax/debris. Use a dry toothbrush to clean.

I always recommend cleaning the hearing aid in the morning as any wax that has built up on the hearing aid from the previous day will be dried out and will flake off easily.

Q: I have two dogs who I love very much. But I can now hear as they run across the hardwood floor and their bark is so loud. Is this how it’s supposed to be? – Brian, Plano, TX

A: Many sounds will seem very loud when you have new hearing aids. Your ears (and your brain) are not accustomed to hearing so many sounds.

A few things to keep in mind:

First, sounds that are loud to a normal hearing person will be loud to a person with hearing aids.  Your dog’s bark is likely very loud to everyone. The hearing aids will compress loud sounds so they don’t become uncomfortably loud.

Second, soft sounds may seem extra loud as your brain adjusts to them. The more you wear your hearing aids the quicker your brain will adjust to those soft, background sounds and will, in essence, relearn how to block them out.

Remember that your hearing loss occurred slowly over many years (often over decades) and it takes a long time for your brain to adjust to all the new sounds in your environment.

If you find this still bothersome after your first two weeks it can easily be reprogrammed for you.

Q: Why does my hearing aid whistle when I place my hand near it? – John, Phoenix, AZ

A: This is completely normal. Anytime you cup or cover a hearing aid you will get feedback. Feedback does not mean that a hearing aid is defective or has something wrong.

If the feedback occurs only when you cup it then no further action needs to be taken. If you have feedback while you eat, talk or when you are still then there are a few things that can be done. Try a different ear tip/dome first. Making a good seal in the ear canal is key. Sometimes this means the tip needs to go deeper so you need to use a smaller tip while other times you need to go to a larger tip to seal up the ear a bit better. If changing the tip doesn’t help then it should be reprogrammed to make the feedback technology more aggressive.

If you have a question for Dr. Flodmand please send it to [email protected]

by Dr. Tammy Flodmand