For those who need hearing aids, the first time using them can be a shock! Often one may not realize it has gotten so difficult to hear everyday sounds. The ability to hear gradually slips away and the brain grows used to the absence of sounds. The longer someone waits to get hearing aids the more of an adjustment it can be to start using them.Once one takes the leap to invest in new hearing aids, many sounds (such as voices and traffic), may come across very intense. This is because hearing aids make lost sounds audible again. When people are first fitted for hearing aids, many complain of tinny sound and discomfort ― and as many as 25% of new wearers toss the aids into a drawer, but this doesn't have to be the case.
Tips for Adjusting to A New Pair of Hearing Aids
You cannot compare hearing aids with glasses. When you use an eyeglass prescription for the first time, you see the difference right away, but with hearing aids you have to get used to hearing differently. Start slowly. Use your new hearing aids at home for a few hours a day and gradually work up to wearing them all day. It’s important to wear them even when it’s quiet so your brain can adjust. You may need anywhere from two weeks to a month for this acclimation period.
Your own voice may sound strange to you when you first get hearing aids. That’s not surprising because hearing aids change the way you hear yourself. The sound doesn't travel through the air and back into your ears as it used to. Instead, you hear it inside your head, the way you do when you have a cold. To help get used to this difference, spend some time alone and read aloud wearing your hearing aids.
Practice connecting sounds and words. Listening and reading words at the same time retrains your brain to connect sounds and language. Some ways to practice are turning on your television’s closed captioning and reading the subtitles while you watch and listen to a movie. Another way is by listening to an audiobook while you read the printed book or have someone read a newspaper or magazine article to you while you follow along with your own copy.
Learn to ignore background noise. Hearing aids cannot completely block unwanted noises such as emergency vehicle sirens, clanking dishes, and fussing babies, especially when you first start wearing them. Don't forget that even people with normal hearing find it difficult to hear in noisy situations. The ability to tolerate these noises gets better with time for those with hearing aids. If you’re truly troubled by background noise, see your audiologist for a hearing-aid checkup.
Don't tolerate whistling sounds. When amplified sound leaks out of the ear past the hearing-aid mold, the microphone picks it up and you hear the sound as a whistle. This annoying high-pitched noise, called feedback, indicates that something is not working properly. The hearing aid may not be inserted properly or there’s a buildup of wax in the ear canal. Consult us at Glendora Hearing Aids and Audiology to investigate the cause.
Fitting is an ongoing process. When you become more familiar with your hearing aids, you can tell the supplier that a certain sound seems as if it is too close to you. Your hearing aids allow you to hear soft sounds (that’s probably one reason you have them), and loud sounds should be just that ― loud but not uncomfortable. Yet some people find that loud sounds are often painful. If that’s the case, try adjusting your hearing aid preferences to see if that helps. If it doesn’t, come visit our team. We’ll adjust your hearing aids to make sure that loud sounds are bearable, but you can still hear soft sounds.
Talk to other people who suffer from hearing problems and who use hearing aids. They have gone through a similar experience and will most likely have information and advice for you to draw on. Wearing hearing aids for the first time is a psychological process. It is a good idea to also talk to our staff at Glendora Hearing Aids & Audiology about your expectations and your experience. Hearing is an important part of communication and the more you get involved in the process, the more rewarding the results!