May 5, 2010

Ask the Audiologist

By Tara Hartman, AU.D, CCC-A
Audiology Consultants, P.C.

Are there hearing aids that will work with my arthritic hands?

When the feeling or dexterity in your fingers declines, it can be very difficult to manipulate small objects. Hearing aids are no exception. Even the larger hearing aids can sometimes prove difficult to use if your hands are arthritic or numb. There are several different styles of hearing aids to choose from and your audiologist can help you choose the style that will be easiest for you to work with.

Usually the custom hearing aids with larger batteries tend to be the most popular style when finger dexterity is a factor. Custom hearing aids are a single unit made from an impression of your ear. They can have handles or notches added to them to give the patient something to hold on to when taking the hearing aid in and out. Small program buttons or volume control wheels are options patient’s can add to a hearing aid but can be quite difficult to use with arthritic hands. Most hearing aids can come with remote controls, which have larger buttons (similar to a small T.V. remote) that can control the volume or programming. They are simple to use and allow the patient to adjust the hearing aid without touching the hearing aid itself.

Changing batteries can also be difficult. Small tools with magnets on the ends can help take batteries in and out of hearing aids. Some companies are providing rechargeable batteries in certain hearing aids so the patient only has to change batteries approximately once a year. The hearing aids simply sit in a charging box each night and are ready to go the next day.

Ask your audiologist which style would work best for you. Together you can select the right options and work on techniques that will help you use your hearing aid to the best of your ability.