IowaFarmBoy wrote:I have a question for those of you with hearing aids. How many visits did you have to make for initial adjustments and how often for maintenance thereafter? I ask because the Costco option is tempting but we live about 45 minutes from the nearest Costco but there are audiologists much closer. If it is just a few trips up front and then very infrequent followups, Costco is probably workable.
I have watched/helped a couple of family members adjust to hearing aids in the past few years. Visit were pretty frequent. Every few weeks to a month at first, then every 4-8 weeks or so after that. Even three years into it, for a family member of mine that has adjusted well to the hearing aids, she is still going back every 4-8 weeks to get the aids checked, cleaned, adjusted if needed, have excess wax removed from her ears, etc. On top of that I have driven over to the shop a couple of times without the hearing aid wearer to drop off and pick up aids have them fixed for family members - anything from a minor repair, to diagnostics, to full repair work (one aid was stepped on and smashed).
Because of frequent maintenance and adjustment visits, I wouldn't want to be more than 10-20 minutes from the place that willbe doing that work if you can avoid it.
I will put in recommendation to see multiple audiologists/facilities for hearing tests, evaluations, and recommendations before deciding where to buy the aids. Because of the frequent maintenance, you're going to be dealing with that office/person frequently. One of my family member had three different hearing tests (all with pretty similar results and recommendations for appropriate hearing aids) before deciding on a provider that she was really comfortable with. (The others weren't bad - just not a good fit for her preferences. She ended up in a small independent shop with an audiologist she really liked working with. I think she would have hated going to Costco over and over for these visits, but everyone is different.)
Also as others have mentioned, there is an adjustment period and learning curve when first getting hearing aids. They are very helpful, but they aren't necessarily perfectly enjoyable immediately. Your brain needs to re-adjust to hearing some background noises that may have disappeared from your recent experience (e.g. hearing the fridge run, hearing clocks tick, hearing other people breathe!). Be prepared to be persistent and patient with the process, and to keep getting the things adjusted as you adjust to them. My family members took 3-6 months or so to get nicely adjusted to their hearing aids when they first started wearing them. It's worth getting them for many reasons. Dementia prevention is one reason, simply being able to communicate with other people more easily is another.
Good luck with it!