Having the right device and accessories could allow you to chat more easily to your date in a restaurant or lead a presentation for a new business client without fear of missing the mark.
Certain items, such as batteries, are essential for hearing aids to perform effectively. However, there are many other optional accessories you may not have thought of that can significantly improve the quality of life of those with hearing loss. This article gives you a rundown of the 10 best hearing aid accessories that could make day-to-day life far simpler.
1. Hearing aid cases
It goes without saying that you’ll need to store your hearing aid correctly if you want to protect it against damage and, more importantly, protect yourself against infection. Without the right hearing aid case, your device can become contaminated with bacteria, which could seriously jeopardize your health if it were to enter your body.
Likewise, a hearing aid case might come in handy if you have small children who could tamper with the delicate parts of your hearing device. The same goes for pets. But the consequences of a beloved dog or cat chewing on your device could be even more devastating since many hearing aid batteries contain chemicals that are toxic to pets.
2. Hearing aid retention wires
The prospect of losing a hearing aid presents a real fear for many people since these handy little devices can positively impact a wearer’s quality of life.
A retention wire can help prevent the behind-the-ear portion of your hearing aid from becoming dislodged and ultimately lost or damaged. These wires typically have a flexible rubber loop on either end that securely attaches to each of your hearing aids. You can then fix the cord to your clothing—a shirt collar, for example—through a hearing aid clip.
Hearing aid retention wires are helpful for anyone with hearing loss. But they could be especially useful for people who are more likely to lose their devices, such as children or those new to the sensation of wearing a hearing aid.
3. Hearing aid earbuds
These discreet little buds are placed inside the ear. They’re designed to amplify sound for those with mild hearing problems and can be purchased over the counter.
Because these devices aren’t prescribed by a professional, they tend to be far cheaper than conventional hearing aids. For some wearers, the appeal lies in their appearance, as it often looks as though the user is just listening to music.
While they’re handy for some people, before you purchase these earbuds, it’s worth remembering that there’s no substitute for having your ears assessed by a trained hearing specialist.
4. Hearing aid chargers
If you’re a seasoned hearing aid user, you’re probably familiar with the frustration of having your device run out of power at a crucial moment. Most batteries have a lifespan of between 3 days and 3 weeks, although this will depend on the type of hearing aid and the frequency of use.
Rechargeable hearing aids contain built-in batteries that won’t need to be removed regularly. Once you place your device on its charging dock, it will automatically begin charging. Although makes and models will vary, you’ll normally need to charge your hearing aid for around 3 hours before use.
An interesting point to note: there's an urban myth that you should store your hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator when not in use. We have no idea how and where this myth originated, but we can tell you that batteries should always be kept dry and at room temperature!
5. Hearing aid cleaning kits
As we’ve already mentioned, hygiene is key for any device used on or in the body. When you purchase a hearing aid, it should come with a cleaning kit specific to its make and model. A typical hearing aid cleaning kit will include:
- a soft brush and dry cloth for removing wax from your aid’s filters, mold, and domes
- a pick or wire loop to clear debris from nooks and vents
- an all-in-one cleaning tool consisting of a brush, wire loop, and magnet
If you lose your kit, you should be able to buy a replacement and other hearing aid supplies from specialist retailers.
6. Hearing aid carrying bags
If you enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming, you’ll probably need to remove your hearing aid regularly and carry it out and about with you. With this, there’s always a risk that it could be damaged in transit, and you may need to pay out for costly repairs, replacement hearing aid parts, or even a new device.
As well as carrying bags for your hearing aid itself, you can purchase specially designed travel bags for hearing aid supplies such as microphones or remote controls. Although it’s tempting to throw everything into a multi-purpose container, hearing aids and their accessories have many intricate mechanisms, so you could end up regretting this.
7. Bluetooth streamers for hearing aids
Through Bluetooth, you can connect your hearing aid to other smart devices such as your remote microphone or mobile phone. Sound confusing? Well, it’s simple, really. This technology works by transmitting high-frequency radio waves that enable your hearing aid to connect with another source.
Almost all hearing aid manufacturers now offer Made for iPhone models, with specific Bluetooth connectivity for iOS platforms on iPhones and iPads.
However, depending on the type of tech involved, you may need to connect a second device (known as a streamer) to ensure your hearing aid is compatible with your mobile phone. In simple terms, the audio will travel from your electronic device to your streamer, which will then transmit it to your hearing aid, and vice versa.
8. Remote microphones for hearing aids
Anyone with hearing difficulties will be familiar with the challenges of having a private conversation in a noisy environment. Many people also struggle if they’re positioned at a distance from the speaking person, as they may not pick up on vital visual cues.
Remote microphones offer a wireless system designed to help people with hearing loss understand speech in these sorts of scenarios. Say you’re at a party with a friend, you can clip the microphone onto their clothing, and you shouldn’t lose track of the conversation. Otherwise, you can place the device close to the source of any sound you’re trying to hear, such as the TV.
So not only do these devices improve the overall quality of any audio, but they also enable much smoother social interactions, which is a welcome benefit for everyone involved.
9. Hearing aid remote controls
For many hearing aid wearers, adjusting the settings on their device can result in minutes of awkward fumbling every time they need to make a change. By using a hearing aid remote control, you can discreetly perform tasks such as changing your device’s volume in a totally hassle-free way. This feature could come in particularly handy when, for example, you’re driving and want to reduce traffic noise or if you’re at a party and the music is becoming a little overwhelming.
Depending on the model you choose, a hearing aid remote control can either be worn around the neck or kept in a handbag or pocket.
10. Hearing aid dryer
Moisture is one of the biggest threats to hearing aid technology. It can clog ports and openings, and it can also build up inside your device’s tubing.
Most hearing aid dryers contain in-built heaters to remove moisture, while more sophisticated models can also emit ultraviolet waves to destroy bacteria. Remember, though: the more care you take to keep your device free from moisture, the longer it will last and the less you’ll need to spend on replacement parts and repairs.
If you prefer non-electronic technology, you could opt for a hearing aid dehumidifier, which uses a desiccant or gel to absorb moisture. As dehumidifiers are often disposable, they tend to be far cheaper than their electronic counterparts.
While discovering you have a hearing problem can be daunting, there are plenty of devices that can radically improve the quality and level of your hearing. And although some of the more sophisticated hearing aid accessories may initially appear off-putting for technophobes, the majority are really simple to use.
What’s more, if you lose or damage any of your hearing aid parts, you should be able to quickly and easily purchase replacements in the majority of cases.
One final point to note is that, whatever issues you have with your hearing, your first step should always be to consult a specialist who can provide you with tailored support based on your specific health needs.