When using a hearing aid for the first time, the experience of hearing again can be a bit confusing, especially if your hearing loss took place gradually over several years. There are sounds you probably haven’t heard or heard clearly in quite some time, and your brain needs to readjust to hearing and interpreting those sounds. Here is what you should know about the hearing aid adjustment process and some tips for using your new aid.
Give Yourself Time to Get Used to the Feel of Hearing Aids
You may hear people say not to compare your hearing aids to your glasses, and for the most part, they’re right. You see the difference immediately when you put on a pair of eyeglasses, whereas hearing aids take some time to get accustomed to. Don’t expect your brain to remember how to hear, identify, and interpret every sound instantly. It takes time. However, like glasses, hearing aids may feel a bit odd at first on your ears, and like glasses, you need to wear them for a few days before they become comfortable.
Take a Moment When Wearing a Hearing Aid for the First Time
When you first get your hearing aid, sit in a quiet room at home and try it. This will allow you to get used to the new sound quality. There are probably a number of noises that you will hear that may seem unusually loud at first – such as the hum of the air conditioning, perhaps, or the beeping of your microwave or oven – but this is due to the fact that you have not heard these sounds properly in some time. This is completely normal, as your brain is getting reacquainted with these sounds.
Start Small, Then Increase How Often You Wear Them
Re-acquiring your hearing skills takes practice. When you are using a hearing aid for the first time, start by wearing them for only a few hours at a time. If it gets to the point where you feel exhausted or overwhelmed, remove them, but try to wear them a little longer every day. The longer you wear them, the better you’ll get at identifying sounds, interpreting voices, and focusing on what you’re hearing.
When you talk on the phone, your conversation partner’s voice sounds a bit different. Even with the best phones, there is still that subtle difference as their voice is transmitted over a phone line or via cellular signal. The same goes for the sounds you hear with your hearing aids. Your original hearing ability won’t be restored 100%. Sounds you hear through your hearing aids may be a little different than you remember. However, your brain can adapt to these differences, and you can adjust to hearing with hearing aids. You just need to give it time.
Read Aloud to Yourself
Prior to getting hearing aids, you may have been told to “stop shouting” from time to time. It’s natural to begin talking loudly when you experience hearing loss, but now you can properly regulate your own volume. A good way to get in the habit of this is by reading to yourself while wearing your hearing aids. It not only helps you determine the appropriate volume for speech, but it also will help you get better at recognizing the sounds of words and speech again.
Enlist the Help of Family and Friends
Your family and friends can be really helpful during the hearing aid adjustment process. First, they can help you by giving you an opportunity to practice speaking in groups in a comfortable atmosphere. This will help your brain relearn the associations between sounds, words, and nonverbal body language.
This is best to do with friends and family, as these voices are the easiest to identify and interpret since they are already familiar to your brain. They also can help you adjust by setting the television at a comfortable volume, giving you the chance to listen and adjust to these new volumes.
At this point, you shouldn’t be turning the volume on your television higher than a person without hearing loss would, or you could further damage your hearing.
Keep a Hearing Journal
Keep track of and write down any noises that you hear that bother you or irritate you. If a ticking clock seems too loud, for example, write it down. Make a note of if that clock sound still sounds annoying after a day or two. By keeping track of such noises, you can later discuss these issues with an audiologist or hearing aid specialist so they can adjust your hearing aids properly.
Pair Reading and Listening as Often as Possible
Whenever you are reading a book, read along with the matching audiobook. When watching television, watch with closed captioning or subtitles. This will help your brain further get reacquainted with associating sounds, words, and speech, which may make the hearing aid adjustment process a bit faster.
Don’t Adjust the Volume Too Much
Hearing aid technology has gotten pretty advanced. A quality hearing aid should adjust to different listening environments, so you shouldn’t need to manually adjust your hearing aids much. When wearing hearing aids for the first time, it may be tempting to turn down the volume when you are going into a loud restaurant or turn it up when walking into a library.
You also may want to try to hear faint sounds from far away or hear in a way that normal ears can’t. By doing this, though, you are not only interfering with the hearing aid adjustment process, but you are also running the risk of further damaging your hearing.
Take Advantage of Telecoil Technology
Hearing aids now have the ability to wirelessly connect with other electronic devices with what is called “telecoil technology” or “telecoil mode.” Hearing aids with this capability (like the MDHearingAid AIR) can be linked to cell phones, computers, microphones, audio systems, and other compatible electronics so that the sounds being emitted (like the voices on a cell phone) can be sent directly to your hearing aid, further improving the clarity with which you hear these devices.
We cannot stress this enough: the new hearing aid adjustment process takes time. You need to be patient with yourself and your hearing aids, and within a few months (or even a few weeks) you will grow accustomed to these devices and to hearing again. That’s why MDHearingAid offers a 45-Day, Money-Back Guarantee with a 21-day minimum trial period. We want you to have ample time to begin the hearing aid adjustment process before you decide if the hearing aids are right for you or not. Feel free to explore our hearing aid options to determine which one may be right for you, and if you have any questions, contact us here!