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3-step process maximizes hearing aid success for new users

Unique, locally developed program helps patients navigate the adjustment period for new hearing aids
From left, Hanan Merrill, Shelagh Merrill, Renae Barr and Rhian from Nanaimo Hearing Clinic.

A common misconception about hearing loss is that once you find the right hearing aids, you simply pop them in, and that's it – you've been "cured" and hear "normally" once again.

But the reality is, much like adjusting to bifocals or using a prosthetic, you need to relearn how to hear with hearing aids.

Hanan Merrill, owner of Nanaimo Hearing Clinic, says individuals new to hearing aids often feel frustrated and disappointed with their new devices because the adjustment period and relearning process are overlooked.

"It's very common for individuals to find hearing aids uncomfortable, too noisy or simply not what they expected. When this happens, the best-case scenario is they go back to whoever sold them the devices and are educated on the adjustment period," Merrill says.

"The worst-case scenario is they get frustrated, stop using their hearing aids, and never receive follow-up care. As a result, they miss out on all the amazing benefits that hearing aids have to offer."

To help, Merrill and his team have developed a program specifically designed to navigate the challenges that come with this period of adjustment. The program helps individuals with hearing loss find the right hearing aids, have them fitted properly, relearn how to hear with their hearing aids, and receive regular check-ups to monitor changes in hearing health.

"Essentially, with our Always Hear Well Program, we create a customized hearing wellness plan for our clients. With a three-step process, it's a fully comprehensive management plan that we have seen immense success with," Merrill says. 

  1. Step One: Always start by finding the right hearing aids and the right fitting. "It often takes between two and four fitting sessions to really get that fit dialed in, but once your hearing aids are fitted properly, they should be so comfortable that you forget you're wearing them."
  2. Step Two: Next, it's time to start readjusting your ears and brain to hearing the world around you. "We do something called 'acoustic brain retraining.' Essentially, we're slowly readjusting the ears and brain to hearing at a normal volume. One of the most common complaints with new hearing aids is that everything is too loud and overwhelming. It's very normal for clients to need their hearing aids set to a lower volume then slowly adjust them to a normal volume setting."
  3. Step Three: The final step is a management plan to monitor changes in hearing. "What we watch for are changes in lifestyle, changes in hearing loss and changes in the hearing aids themselves," Merrill adds. "Two annual visits are included, and during those visits, we do testing, tune-ups and comfort checks with the goal that our clients are always hearing their best."

For more information on Nanaimo Hearing's Always Hear Well Program, call 250-585-4100. For more hearing tips or to book an appointment with the Nanaimo Hearing Clinic, call 250-585-4100 or visit Find Nanaimo Hearing Clinic at 501-5800 Turner Rd. in Cactus Club Plaza, Nanaimo.