Adjust to Your New Hearing Aid in 5 Simple Steps
September 17, 2019
Follow these simple steps to make your transition to hearing aids as smooth as possible.
It takes a while before you get used to the feel of your new hearing aids. This is especially true if you are new to wearing them. There is the physical feeling of having this device sitting in your ear, and there are the strange sensory changes you undergo as more sounds coming flooding into your ears than you have heard in years.
As you adjust to life with hearing aids it is important to get as much help as possible from your healthcare professional. Whether that be a doctor or an ear specialist, they will be able to help and assist your transition to wearing hearing aids.
To help you along we have come up with 5 easy steps for anyone who is adjusting to life with a new hearing aid.
1. Start Out at Home
Everything will sound strange to you in the beginning, from your own voice to the sound of the toilet flushing. Like anything, you will eventually grow used to this new sensation, but before you become familiar with it, we recommend that you first try it out in your home environment.
It doesn't necessarily have to be your home, it can be any environment you are safe, comfortable and familiar with. Let your immediate circle know about the transition you are making and focus on having some conversation with the new devices in place.
Try reading out loud and chewing different types of food to really get a feel for the types of sounds you will no be hearing. All this will come in handy when you move into louder, more noisy and distorted sound environments. With the right practice at home, you will be ready for those new sounds.
2. Develop a Regime
Put in some practice with your hearing aids by trying to locate the direction of all the sounds you are taking in. Take time to listen to music, television, and the radio. Try different volume settings to see which volume suits which activity; after all, it might be better to set the volume lower for working in the garage than when you are having a friendly chat with a neighbor.
Another good strategy is to attend hearing aid care classes whenever possible. If your hearing care professional offers this kind of classes, be sure to sign up. They are a great place to learn more and adjust more successfully.
What do we do after we practice? We rest of course! Make sure you are taking regular breaks. Adjusting slowly will help the process seem easier. So take a few blocks of hours when you don't wear the hearing aid. You can progressively increase the number of hours you wear them each day.
3. Keep in Touch with Your Health Professional
Don't be afraid to schedule multiple appointments with your health care professional. Whenever you have a problem or a question not it down and bring it up in your next meeting.
Follow up visits are crucial for making the adjustments to the settings your hearing aid might need. Without regular meetings, and informative reporting from yourself, the adjustment to hearing aids will take longer and might not be as well suited to your ears as it could be.
4. Be Prepared for the Frustration
Sorry if this isn’t what you want to hear but there will be some frustrating times ahead as you adjust to life with your new hearing aid. After years with low volume hearing, a hearing aid will seem like it is flooding your ears with sounds. There are moments when it is overwhelming and you have to turn the hearing aid off, but these moments pass.
For example, the buzzing of light —a background noise that is rarely noticed by anyone—could suddenly sound unbearable. This is because your ears and brain are out of practice. The process of distinguishing between sounds has been forgotten and must now be relearned.
As your brain makes sense of the new soundscape it is important for you to stay patient and remind yourself that it is temporary. This is why we advise you in step 2 to take regular breaks.
5. Make Sure They are Comfortable
The first few weeks of wearing hearing aids are different from the rest because it is expected that there will be some discomfort. However, after the initial period your hearing - whatever the make or model it is - should be feeling comfortable. If it is not then it needs to be adjusted or changed altogether. We have already advised in step 3 to keep regular contact with your health professional so that provides you with the opportunity to voice your concerns.
It is important that you let your health professional know if there is any kind of discomfort. Gritting your teeth and enduring will only cause you more problems in the long run. As we said, the initial few weeks are where the calibration is done. Most hearing aids come with a 30-day free trial, if you haven't got it feeling comfortable after that time you should probably return it.
Helping Loved Ones
If you have a family member suffering from hearing difficulties, there are many things that you can do to help. Helping them practice one-to-one conversations is a great way to get them started.
For that matter, you can help them try out any kind of sound they want as they experiment with their new hearing aids. If your loved one randomly asks you to fire up the lawnmower, go do it.
Quiz them on certain sounds to make sure they are hearing things correctly. They might be hearing things slightly differently to how they really sound for the first period that they wear them. You can find an array of sounds at different levels from different environments and see how accurate your loved one's hearing is.
It’s Worth it in the Long Run
Whatever you do, be patient. Adjusting to hearing aids is not an easy process so you might see your loved one reject the process or become sullen with the issues they are facing. If this is the case, you need to be the supportive and patient voice that guides them through this tricky time.
Help them stay on course with their practice and keep in touch with their health professionals. It can be challenging and frustrating to adjust to new hearing aids, but it's worth it in the long run.