Hearing aids reconnect us to our world and now, they also keep us independent and living an active life. This advanced technology requires a little maintenance to keep running at optimum levels. Good news is, you can do much of this yourself from the comfort of your home. Look below to find helpful tips on maintenance, services you might need, and expectations for adjusting to wearing hearing aids. In addition, learn about the added features that the latest technology includes allowing you to not just hear, but Thrive.
If you find yourself needing immediate assistance from an Audiologist feel free to use our telehealth option, TeleHear. TeleHear is a group of online Audiologists that are ready to assist you with your hearing needs, at your convenience from the comfort and safety of your home. TeleHear operates Monday – Friday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm CST. To connect with an Audiologist click here.
Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance
Sanitizing your hearing aids frequently can keep them performing at their best, but it’s important to learn how to sanitize them correctly, as well as what products to use, to keep them from being damaged.
Follow these sanitizing tips below:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after sanitizing your hearing aids.
- Brush off your hearing aids using a toothbrush or other fine brush to remove wax.
- Change out batteries and wax guards if needed.
- After the wax is removed, finish with gently wiping down the exterior of the device. Hearing professionals recommend using alcohol wipes or bleach wipes, as these products will not damage the aid.
- Do not wipe down internal parts or the battery section.
- Let the hearing aids air dry before placing back in your ears.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Call your hearing health clinic if you have any questions about the sanitizing process or the sanitizing products you plan to use.
If your hearing aids need a deeper sanitizing, your hearing health clinic staff are available to give your hearing aids the concierge treatment.
Keeping your hearing aids clean and in excellent condition is easy by taking preventative measures while at home. See the tips below on how to clean your hearing aids.
Ear Wax Prevention: Ear wax is the most common cause for hearing aids repairs. It can travel deep into the hearing aid when not prevented. To clean the ear wax from your hearing aids, follow these steps:
- Clean your hearing aids every morning with a clean cloth – free of lotions, aloe, etc.
- Avoid wiping the microphone ports. These should be cleaned by a hearing health professional.
- Clean your hearing aid tubing regularly. Use the tool given to you when you bought your hearing aids to clean the tubing.
Water: Precipitation, condensation, and humidity can cause serious damage to your hearing aids. Remove your hearing aids before showering, swimming, or entering any body of water.
Avoid Physical Damage: Always store your hearing aids in a safe place away from pets, children or any form of danger. If damage occurs, make an appointment with your hearing health clinic. Taking great care of your hearing instruments will prolong your device and give you the best results when worn. It is recommended to have your hearing aids professional cleaned every 2 months.
Our hearing is more important now than ever. We recommend you replace your Hear Clear Wax Guards roughly every 2 weeks or every month at the least. It comes down to how much ear wax your body produces. Some people need to replace wax guards more than others.
Ear wax and moisture is the leading cause for hearing aid malfunction and underperformance. These Hear Clear Wax Guards are the last line of defense for your hearing aids. Here are a few quick steps to replace them.
- Remove the ear bud or receiver earmold
- Take the new Hear Care Wax Guard stick out of the package
- Using the back side of the stick (the side without the white wax guard) insert into the current wax guard firmly and remove the old wax guard with a simple backward pull.
- Flip over the stick and insert the new wax guard
- Put the ear bud or receiver earmold back on
Watch these quick videos for a visual on how you can replace your Hear Clear Wax Guards.
Canal & Behind-the-Ear models
This quick task will keep you hearing at your best. If you are running low on Hear Clear Wax Guards or need assistance, please call our office.
Like any electronic device, hearing aids will occasionally malfunction. Not to worry – we’re here to assist you in identifying minor hearing aid problems and how to troubleshoot them. This information may save you time and reduce frustration by helping you remedy some of these problems yourself, so you can continue receiving benefit from your hearing aid.
If you experience one of the following problems:
- Complete loss of sound
- Weak or intermittent amplification
- Internal noises or distorted/garbled sound
Then ask yourself these four questions to troubleshoot:
1) Is my hearing aid on?
If you aren’t getting any sound from your hearing aid, ensure the hearing aid battery door is completely closed and the hearing aid is turned on. If you have a volume control, be sure the volume is not set on mute or on the minimum setting.
2) Is there a problem with the battery?
The battery needs to sit in the hearing aid in a specific way for it to work (refer to your instruction manual for information on proper placement). Like other batteries, hearing aid batteries are polarized and have both “+” and “-” markings. The flat side of the hearing aid battery is the positive pole. Check for proper placement of the battery in your hearing aid. If the battery is upside down, your hearing aid won’t be able to draw power.
Next, make sure you aren’t working with a dead or weak battery. Remove a fresh battery from the package and remove the sticker/tab from the battery. We recommend you wait 3-5 minutes after removing the sticker before using the battery. This time allows the battery to completely charge before being ready for use. Insert the new battery into the hearing aid. If you have a battery tester, you can use it to check the power level of the hearing aid battery as well.
3) Is the hearing aid clogged?
Earwax, moisture, oils and other foreign materials can build up in the microphone(s), sound port, and tubing of the hearing aid negatively affecting its function.
- Wipe hearing aid with a clean, dry cloth or tissue.
- If your hearing professional provided you with a cleaning tool or brush, use it to clean debris from the hearing aid’s components.
- Clean or replace wax guard/protection.
For a step-by-step guide to clean and care for your hearing aids, click here.
4) Am I wearing the most appropriate program?
If your hearing aid has multiple programs, verify that you are using the most appropriate program for your environment. Some programs that are intended for the telephone or specific environments may sound unusual if you are using them in other situations.
See your hearing professional.
It is important to remember that certain types of malfunctions should be referred to your hearing professional to prevent further damage to the hearing aid or to avoid invalidating the hearing aid’s warranty. If the troubleshooting suggestions above do not resolve the problem or if there is physical damage to your hearing aid, please contact them. The hearing professional can often make repairs or modifications in-office, or they may need to send the hearing aid to the manufacturer for repair.
Replacing Battery – Custom Style
Replacing Battery – On the Ear Style
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Importance of Service
Service is a vital part of hearing as best as you can. Getting fitted for hearing aids is not the end of your hearing journey, it is the start. Following your fitting are adjustment appointments as you get used to all the new sounds and working your hearing aids. Regular Clean and Checks are needed every 2-3 months to give a deep cleaning to your devices. Much like your eyes, your ears change over time. An Annual Exam is needed to make any adjustments to your prescription, keeping you hearing at your best. We are on this journey together and we promise to be with you every step of the way ensuring you are hearing your best.
A clean hearing aid makes a noticeable difference in the sounds that you hear. Regular cleanings at home are important but overtime you will need to bring in your devices for a thorough deep cleaning and check. Our staff take the time to complete disassemble your devices and scrub them clear of all wax, moisture and debris. We change out your wax guards as well as any other maintenance or minor repairs that are needed. In addition, we will run a quick diagnostic to verify that they are working at optimum level.
The ear is a very bad place for a computer to live. There is moisture, earwax and humidity all within your ear canal. Computer devices break down with moisture and debris. That is why we recommend getting in a routine of a Clean and Check every 2-3 months. By this time, most people have built up some debris in their hearing aids and a deep cleaning will get your hearing aids back running at peak performance. For some people, they need it more frequently than others. Our staff will be able to guide you through your timing.
These appointments are usually a quick 15-30 minutes that will have you hearing at your best. We do Clean and Check appointments on all makes and models regardless if you purchased from us or not.
It is recommended that every adult goes to see a general doctor once a year. This allows for continuous monitoring and allows the doctor to understand when something has changed. By being proactive, the goal is to catch any issues before they become major. This is also true with dentists and the eye doctor.
In the same way, it is important to build a relationship with a hearing professional. An annual test is recommended regardless if there is an established hearing loss. Early detection allows for professionals to address the issue before it becomes a major problem. Once your hearing is gone, it is impossible to get it back.
Over 450 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and one in three adults aged 65 and older have some degree of hearing loss. Yet despite these numbers, surprisingly few of us test our hearing on a regular basis.
These tests shouldn’t stop once you have a hearing treatment plan. It is just as important with hearing aids as without. Overtime, your ears will change much like your vision. These changes require adjustments to your hearing prescription and fine-tuning of your device. If your hearing loss changes drastically, there is a chance that you will need a stronger hearing aid.
Keeping up with annual exams allows for your hearing solution to be as exact as possible, leading to the best hearing possible. If it has been over a year, schedule your annual exam today. Not sure when you have been in last? Give us a call and we can look up your records.
Hearing aids keep you connected to your world. When they need repairs, you don’t want to rely on a company that simply ships out all its repairs to a factory across the country or around the world. We pride ourselves in being able to do almost all our patients’ hearing aid repairs right here in-house, eliminating lengthy shipping times and other repair delays. You trust our team here to give you the best hearing solutions. It’s only natural for you to trust us to repair your hearing aids when and if problems arise.
The Cost of Hearing Aid Repairs
The cost of having your hearing aids repaired will depend on several factors. Among them are:
- Are your hearing aids under warranty or service plan?
- Do your hearing aids need replacement parts?
- How expensive are the replacement parts?
- What is the extent of the damage?
If you bought your hearing aids from our office and they’re still under warranty or service plan, your costs could be very small or nonexistent. If you’ve got older hearing aids that need substantial work done, your costs could be more significant. For instance, a cracked case on a custom molded device might be quite expensive to replace, but we can repair some cracks ourselves in-house, reducing the costs significantly.
The Benefits of In-House Repairs
Because we do a lot of the repairs in-house, you can speak with the professional who is doing the repair. We will answer any questions or concerns you might have. Since your hearing aids won’t need to be shipped, time and costs are saved and passed back to you. Many repairs can be finished in the same day.
Occasionally, we will have to send out a repair to our manufacturer if it is beyond our ability in the clinic. If this is the case, we will fit you with a loaner pair of hearing aids to keep you connected until your devices are back from our manufacturing experts.
Repairing other Brands
We don’t stop at just helping the hearing aids we fit. All makes and models are welcome. Our staff have worked on almost every make and model of hearing aids from cleanings to much needed repairs. Some manufacturers have restrictions of how much we can adjust or program them.
Adjustment Period – 1 to 3 months after purchase
Getting fitted with hearing devices is not the end of the journey. Unlike glasses, there is an adjustment period that can take up to four months. During this time, your mind will be adjusting to the sounds that you used to miss. Some of these noises will be welcomed while other noises will become annoying. It is important to know going in that this will take time.
Working with your Provider
During this adjustment period, it is important to stay in contact with your provider. They will help you by making small adjustments until you are hearing comfortably. Some people adjust quicker than others so don’t be surprised if you are getting adjustments to your prescription every week or so. In addition to adjustments to the sounds, it is important to discuss any frustrations, annoyances and excitements that you have experienced with your new hearing. This is a team effort, so do not be afraid to speak up.
Remember that your hearing loss has been gradual. Over the years you have lost the ability to hear certain sounds in different volumes and pitches. This can include sounds that you haven’t heard in a while but have been there all along such as traffic, the wind, the hum of machinery and other background noises. Understand that some of these noises can become annoying as you have gotten used to them not being there. Overtime, you will get reacquainted with these. Practice getting used to all these noises. Your brain will adjust, and these sounds will become normal again.
It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Wear them as much as possible at first to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction and to learn which hearing aid settings work best for you in different situations. The more you use them, the quicker your adjustment period will be and the more benefit you will receive.
The adjustment period may be tiresome. It’s a lot like retraining a muscle that has not been used in a while. It’s important to give your brain and ears a break. When you are feeling stressed or frustration building, take a 15 minute or half hour break. Work with your provider to set goals to build more time with your devices each day. Before you know it, you will be wearing them constantly and getting the best value out of your devices.
Setting the right expectations for any new experience is important. Let’s settle some myths to make sure that your expectations of helping hearing will be more realistic. First, hearing with hearing aids will not sound identical to natural hearing. Yes, our hearing aids are as natural sounding as ever and we continue to develop better technology. However, there are limitations to a machine when comparing to a natural ear. We will work together to get you hearing as best as you can, but it may sound slightly different. In addition, if your hearing loss is too profound, it may not get back to perfect. All of these variables play a factor.
Hearing Aids are NOT Created Equal
Another myth is that all hearing aids are the same and treat everyone. You are unique, and so are your ears and your prescription. Custom hearing solutions that we offer is a combination of two things: A custom fitting product that is specifically molded for your ear, and a custom fitting prescription to your level of loss.
Custom molds allow for the most comfortable fitting devices and can also fit with your lifestyle. These products range in size from very small that fits in your ear canal to an over-your-ear product with a custom mold that is connected in your ear. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The smaller products can be made if your ear shape allows it. In addition, the more hearing loss, the larger a device is needed to create the sound needed.
Custom prescriptions are just as vital, if not more than the shape or style of device. Many devices simply make all sounds louder. These are great if your hearing loss is the same across all pitches. Most of us don’t have that type of hearing loss. Custom hearing prescriptions are programmed into your hearing aids to amplify the pitches that you have a hard time hearing. Amplifying everything only makes it more difficult to understand, especially in crowds.
Adjusting to your new hearing doesn’t have to be dull or boring. Have some fun with these games designed to help you get used to your hearing aids!
Technology Enhancements – Beyond Hearing
Thrive APP Features
Why more than a hearing aid
More than ever, people today are focused on their long-term health – tracking daily steps, eating well, and staying active. Hearing is extremely important to your physical health as well. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression and isolation, have a higher risk of falling, and tend to have higher blood pressure. In addition, a healthy cardiovascular system has been linked to better hearing. Brain health is just as important as physical health. Exercising your mind through different environments, socialization and critical thinking is important. Research shows a link between cognitive decline and hearing loss. Circa AI was built with the idea of creating the best sounding hearing aid ever with the tracking and intelligence ability to keep you informed about your body and environment and keep you thriving.
Why the Ear
The Ear is the perfect place to gain accurate information through artificial intelligence and sensors. Steps are more accurately tracked on your head than on your wrist or in your pocket. The ear also allows for the ability to track the information that is moving into your brain through your ears. This allows us to track your brain stimulus as well as the different environments you experience each day.
Circa AI products come with the best sound built in for anyone to be able to wear them without connecting to another device. To get the most out of the Circa AI line, connecting them wirelessly to a Smart Phone or Tablet is necessary. This is how most of the additional features such as Fall Detection, Assistant, and Language Translation communicates back to you and enhances your life. Don’t be fooled, the hearing aids have all the sensors, and processing but pairs with your device to become more user friendly. For example, even if you are not paired to a device, your hearing aids will still keep track of your steps and Thrive Score. Some Circa AI products include all the features, while others are more selective.
To get started, here are a few quick tips and tricks for connecting your Circa Hearing aids to an Apple phone or tablet:
If you have an android phone or tablet, we have you covered here as well:
Pairing Rechargeable Hearing Aids with Android
Pairing Battery Hearing Aids with Android
You are living a busy life. It’s not always easy to get into your provider’s office for an adjustment. In addition, an adjustment in an office setting is not the same as when you are sitting in a busy coffee shop or restaurant. Hearing Care Anywhere allows you to remotely request adjustments to your hearing channels via the internet. This HIPAA compliant update starts with your request to your provider. Once the request is sent, your provider will be able to adjust and allow you to test out the changes. Once the adjustments are uploaded, you will be able to test the old and new settings in the environment you are having trouble. Accept it if its better or deny the change if it is not. Your provider will see what is accepted and rejected. This allows you to fine tune your hearing while still living your life. This feature works on all Circa, Circa AI, and Circa Edge AI products.
Here is how it works:
- Open the Thrive App and Click the Setting Menu Icon in the bottom right corner
- Click on Hearing Care Anywhere
- Fill out what your needs or challenges are
- Wait for a notification that your provider has made the adjustment
- Test out the adjustment and keep or deny the change
Note: A code is required from your provider for the first adjustment. Adjustments are not instant. It can take a while before your provider makes the changes.
Check out this video to learn how to use Hear Care Anywhere:
Improvement Starts with Measuring
When setting goals or monitoring your overall health, having goals that you can see makes it all the easier to reach them. Whatever your goals are for your health, the Thrive Score will be your report card. Strive each day to reach 200 points and if it gets too easy, adjust your goals.
Thrive Score is generated based on a combination of physical, social, and mental activities for each day. The total score possible is 200 points.
- Body (up to 100 points):
- Step Count – measuring your daily number of steps more accurately than a device on your wrist or in your pocket. The goals can be changed to whatever your needs are.
- Exercise – monitors progress toward a daily exercise goal. Whether you are training for a marathon, or wanting to walk across the hall, reaching your goals is important for progress.
- Stand – It is important to move around throughout the day. This goal reflects how many hours in a day you get up and move around.
- Brain and Social (up to 100 points):
- Use Points – achieved by wearing the hearing aids. It’s important to get used to your devices and wear them in order to see the impact of hearing.
- Engagement – The sensors can track not only what you hear, but how often you are interacting with others. Have conversations with friends and loved ones. This helps you avoid isolation.
- Environment – Different environments stimulate different parts of the brain. Let’s make a goal to experience many different environments throughout the day. Walking outside, listening to music or talking on the phone are all examples of different environments.
Navigating the Thrive Score
Open the Thrive App on your smart phone or tablet. On the main screen you will see your current Thrive Score. If you want to see the breakdown between physical goals and brain/social goals, click on the graph icon on the bottom menu bar. Here you can see specifically each category as well as past days.
Adjusting physical goals
Are the physical goals to difficult or easy to reach? Adjust your goals as needed with a few clicks within the Thrive App:
- Open the Thrive App
- Click on the Menu button in the lower right corner
- Select Thrive Score from the menu
- Select Active tracking and adjust your goals.
Check out this video to learn more about Thrive Score
Information is Power. Therefore, we built the Thrive Assistant feature into the Circa AI. Turn your hearing aids into your personal assistant. Simply tap the icon on the Thrive app and ask any question like, “lower the volume” or “change to my coffee shop channel”. Your hearing aids will automatically adjust to your command. In addition, troubleshooting is built into the Thrive app for your convenience. Want to ask more questions about the world? Simply ask “what is the forecast for today?” or “who was the 4th president of the United States” or any other question. The Thrive Assistant will share with you the answer to your question directly into your hearing aid. Circa AI makes you the smartest person in the room.
Here is how to set up the Thrive Assistant:
- Tap the Settings Menu Icon on the Thrive App
- Tap “Thrive Assistant”
- Log into your Amazon Account
- Ask Questions or state demands to your device
Check out this video to learn more about Thrive Score
Note: There is a quick button on the home page. Click the ‘?’ symbol in the upper right corner.The Thrive Assistant can also be simplified by using the Tap Control Feature.
Peace of Mind
The National Institute on Aging reports that 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 65 experience a fall each year. Consequences of falls include broken bones, brain injuries, long-term mobility, and even death. Hearing loss only multiplies the chances of a fall. People with a mild hearing loss are 3 times as likely and the chances go up as the hearing loss gets worse. Circa AI is the first and only hearing aid that includes aa fall detection feature. Once set up, if a fall does occur a loved one will receive an automated text message telling them of the fall. This allows for speedy assistance from a loved one. This is a free feature and is more reliable than fall detections that hang around a neck. By being firmly in your ear, our sensors and AI can detect a fall with extreme precision. In addition, you can adjust the sensitivity in settings.
Here is how to set up Fall Alert:
- Open the Thrive App and click on the Menu icon in the lower right corner.
- Tap on the Fall Alert
- Select a contact that should be alerted once a fall is detected (the feature is not active until a contact has confirmed)
- If a fall is detected a 60-second timer will start. This can be cancelled by the user in the event of a false alarm.
- Once the timer reaches zero and the alert has not been cancelled manually, a text message will be sent to the contact notifying them of a fall with the location of the fall.
Note: For this feature to work, the wearer must have their hearing aids in and on along with being paired to a smart phone.
The world is getting smaller and smaller each day. Stay connected and in the know at all times with the Language Translation feature. With a few clicks on the app, you will be able to hear a live translation of one of 27 languages directly through your hearing aids. In addition, it will appear on your phone or tablet. Wanting to communicate to someone else in another language? Speak and the language translation feature will transcribe your words into another language.
Here’s how to run the Language Translation:
- Open the Thrive App and select the Settings Menu Icon in the lower right corner
- Choose Translate
- Tap Launch
- Choose which languages you would like to translate from and to
- Tap the Microphone Icon and begin speaking.
Here are the languages that can be translated in your hearing aids:
Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Check out this video to learn more about Thrive Score
Hearing Aids are small and with that includes the little buttons. It can be tough to hold them down to turn them off. Especially if your hearing aids are rechargeable, you cannot afford to forget them on. They need to be ready to go when you are. That is why Circa AI has a built in Auto On/Off feature. Trust that your hearing aids will automatically turn off when you place them (receivers up) on any flat space. In 15 minutes of sitting still they will power down automatically. Don’t burn through precious battery life by forgetting to power them down anymore.
Follow these steps to set up your Auto On/Off feature:
- Open the Thrive App and tap on the Settings Menu in the lower right corner
- Tap Device Settings
- Toggle the Auto On/Off feature as needed
No more buttons, no more unexpected dead batteries. Hearing easy, when you need it.
It’s important to bring your hearing aids for routine maintenance every few months. However, it’s not always clear if you need to come in sooner or if your hearing aids are fine until after your next trip. Introducing Self Check. Available through the Thrive App and all Circa AI models, Self Check allows you to run a self-diagnostic on your devices. In a few moments you will know if your devices are performing at optimal level, need a cleaning, or have a major issue and need to seek professional care. Peace of mind is only a few clicks away.
Here is how to run Self Check:
- Open the Thrive App
- Tap the Settings Menu Icon in the lower right corner
- Tap the Self Check Option
- Place devices on a flat surface with the receivers facing up and reduce surrounding noise
- Tap Run Diagnostic
The Results of the test will guide you through maintenance you can do at home. In addition, it will notify you if the problem requires professional care.
Note: this feature requires a baseline test done at the clinic. Talk to your provider for details.
You have a busy life. It is easy for some things to slip through the cracks. This could be due to a busy schedule or if you are starting to forget a few things. We are using our AI to create a virtual assistant, so you don’t have to remember everything. One of these features in Reminders. Set a reminder for a medication, to call a friend, or remind you of your anniversary. All these reminders will be discreetly read into your ear. You can set one-time reminders or reoccurring ones. Don’t worry about forgetting something important again.
Here is how to set up a reminder:
- Open the Thrive App
- Tap the Settings Menu Icon in the lower right corner
- Select Reminders
- Enter your reminder, if it is reoccurring or not, and the date/time you would like.
Check out this video to learn more about Thrive Score
The Thrive Assistant is a great feature to get used to. However, sometimes you don’t want to find your phone and open the Thrive App back up. In these times, you can lean on the Tap Control feature. This feature allows you to simply double tap on your ear to open the Thrive Assistant feature. Hands free to get the answer or adjustment you need is a double tap of your ear away. Simply double tap your ear, wait for the que and ask, “who won best picture in 1984” or “lower my volume”. If you are streaming music or audio through a TV streamer, you can use this feature as well for turning the streamer on and off.
Here is how to adjust the Tap Control:
- Open the Thrive App
- Tap on the Menu Icon in the lower right corner
- Tap on Device Settings
- Tap on Tap Gesture
- Turn on/off the feature at the top as well as assign each ear and sensitivity levels