Is your hearing aid uncomfortable? Does your own voice sound too loud? Do you hear a whistle? Are you having trouble distinguishing voices from background noise? These are common problems for someone adjusting to a hearing instrument for the first time. They are also some reasons why people stop wearing their hearing aids. And yet, almost all these problems can be solved. When you get new hearing aids there is always a period of adjustment. As a first time user your brain has not heard a lot of sounds for some time, so it will take time to re-learn everything. It is easy to become frustrated in the first few days. You should follow these suggestions to achieve hearing aid success:
The Process Takes Time
It will take some time to get used to your hearing device, unfortunately it won't happen overnight. You will need patience, practice and realistic goals to get the most out of your new hearing aid.
When you first bring your new hearing aid home it is important to remember the job of hearing isn't done by the ears alone, the brain plays a large role in interpreting the sounds your ears hear. It is your brain that causes subtle background sounds like rustling clothes or a ticking clock to seem really loud at first because it has not had to interpret those sounds in some time. Eventually the brain will relearn to interpret all sounds correctly again. Practice concentrating on whatever sounds you would like to hear, this is a great exercise to help you adjust to your new hearing aid.
- If you have multi-program hearing aids, practice changing the programs or volume to find the settings that work best for the various tasks in your day. Use friends and family voices to decide which settings work best for you.
- Try wearing your hearing aids for as many hours a day as you can and for a little longer each day. Part of adjusting to a hearing aid is getting used to the feeling of something in or around your ear.
- Do not attempt to wear your hearing aid to a cocktail party or crowded restaurant shortly after bringing them home. You will become overwhelmed with all the sounds. Slowly put yourself in situations with different noise levels and try talking to different people so that you can relearn to distinguish between sound patterns. Listening in situations where there is a lot of background noise will be the most difficult in the adjusting process.
- Remember, hearing aids do not restore normal hearing or eliminate all background noise. At first that may be confusing or irritating and keep you from distinguishing the sounds you want to hear from those you don't. Taking the time to properly adjust to the hearing aids can make the difference between getting the most out of them and tossing them in the drawer in frustration.
6 More Tips to help to adjusting to a hearing aid
Wear the Hearing Aids as Often as Possible
At first wearing something in or on your ear can be bothersome. We promise it just takes some time to get used to them, before long you won't even remember you are wearing them. Beyond that, the bigger change will be for your brain to get used to working with your ears again. Consistent use of your hearing aids will make this transition smooth. It can be tiring, so it is okay to take it slow, but try to wear your hearing aids for longer and longer each day until it becomes the norm.
Relearning your voice
When you first start wearing hearing aids, your voice will have more depth, and may sound loud. Don’t let it throw you off! To adjust to your new voice, read aloud to yourself and take time to find the appropriate volume. After a few days you’ll be accustomed to the change and won’t even notice it.
Be Realistic and Patient
Your hearing will never be perfect again and you need to be realistic about that. Hearing aids are not like glasses. They will help you regain a lot of what you've been missing and help you exert less energy trying to hear and decipher sounds. Like we've mentioned, it will take time, and you need to be patient and push through the hard parts. Set small, attainable goals, like hearing better at the dinner table. This will help you see progress.
Think Positive Thoughts and Be Open to Adjustments
Adjusting requires some work, but keep your mind on the positive impact it will have on your life and your health when you can hear again with ease. Things won't always be perfect especially in the beginning. Help your hearing specialist help you by taking note of situations where it is still particularly hard to hear. This will help them make tweaks and suggestions for you.
Learn About Your Hearing Loss and Share It With Family and Friends
Ask your hearing instrument specialist about your hearing loss, have them explain situations you may always have some trouble in. Take all the information you can and share it with those around you. The transition will be easier when you have people on your side, who want to help you succeed.
Keep a Diary
While you are adjusting to your hearing aid, an easy way to keep track of the settings you like and issues you've had is keeping a diary. This will also help your hearing specialist narrow down any problem areas you might have. Each time you wear your aids in a new environment, note how well you hear or what problems you had. Then when you go in for an adjustment you can easily remember to discuss what needs to be changed. Don't be afraid to talk to your hearing specialist. They know that some adjustments will need to be made after the initial fitting.
Be sure to tell your hearing care provider or HearStore about problems with feedback of whistling. This can mean an improper fit or buildup of wax or fluid in the ear. Another common problem is hearing your own voice sound too loud. This is called occlusion. We can help with both problems or suggest programs that help you cope.
The most important thing to remember when adjusting to a hearing aid is that it takes time and practice to get used to your new device. You've already taken the step of admitting you have a hearing loss, don't give up now. Listening will become easier each day if you take the time to let your hearing aid help you.
Things to Look for While Evaluating Your Hearing Aid(s)
Can you hear in the various environments you are often in?
After taking some time to get used to the new sound, wear the hearing aid to church or the grocery store, where it is typically noisier. Then wear it in the quiet of your own home. Try wearing it outside and other places you might often go. Take note of situations where you could comfortably hear and situations where you found it more difficult. The hearing specialist will be able to adjust the device for some situations. You should be able to visit the hearing specialist for adjustments during the risk-free trial to ensure the settings are working for you.
Does it fit comfortably on or in your ear?
You have to wear the hearing aid for many hours a day, so it should be comfortable. Ideally you shouldn't even know it is there. It may take a few days to get used to wearing something in or on your ear, but if the fit and style work with your life eventually you won't notice them.
Does it work well on the phone?
Using the telephone with your hearing aid can be very important and you don't want to have to deal with annoying feedback or being unable to hear. Some hearing aid models can connect directly with your telephone or offer a special telephone setting. Make sure you know how to use the option that comes with your device or talk with your hearing specialist about extra accessories that may help you.