If you have recently acquired a pair of hearing aids: congratulations on taking a big step in your journey to better hearing! Adapting to your new hearing aids may take a little bit of time, but the benefits are significant.
When you put on a pair of prescription glasses, you get the benefits of the improved vision immediately. Hearing aids are a little different – it will take a short period of time, patience, and practice before you will reap the benefits. You have lived for a while in a muffled, lonely world, and it will take some changes to acclimatize to all the sounds that you have missed.
This is important to mention because many come into wearing hearing aids with perhaps unrealistic expectations.
Here are some tips for adjusting to your new hearing aids to ensure the best chances of success.
Take the time to acclimatize to your new normal
Several strange sounds might appear once you put on your hearing aids. Your voice would sound loud and hollow. There will be a bit of an adjustment to the hearing device’s feeling as it sits behind or in your ear. But after a short time, you won’t notice that sensation anymore.
Once you have correctly inserted your hearing aids and set the volume to the correct level, you will probably notice, at first, how different the world now sounds to you. There may be some shocking or even startling sounds.
That’s why it might be best to put the hearing aids in your ears in a quiet place at home. Listen to the sounds inside the room and outside the house. Take a while to adjust to the sound of cars passing by. Those sounds have been there all along, but you were not able to experience them until this moment.
Start by listening to audio content
Listening to audiobooks or watching captioned TV is an excellent way to readjust to understanding voices again. Seeing and hearing the words on the screen or in a book when you listen to them is a helpful way to understand speech without the burden of responding appropriately (that will come later!).
It would help if you also practiced reading aloud with your hearing aids. Some people initially find their voice a little strange through a hearing aid. The more you hear your speech, the more natural it will eventually sound.
Get to talking
While learning speech recognition alone helps, by using your hearing aids, you will still want to branch out and start talking to your loved ones.
Before you leap into a crowded dinner party or a class reunion, build your confidence and abilities by starting small. Start by having one-on-one discussions in private environments in the first few weeks.
If you feel confident, keep the setting quiet but add more people to your conversation. Pay attention to where speech comes from and how your ears find the sound in space, in conversation with multiple people. Relaxed conversations like these build understanding and trains you to handle noise in louder and more complex environments.
Wear them every single day
To fit you best with your hearing aids, you will need to wear them regularly. Using them every day helps your brain adapt to a new way of hearing more quickly and will gradually make your hearing experience more satisfying.
Untreated hearing loss over several years eventually reshapes how the brain processes speech. To compensate for the missing information, the pathways your mind uses to understand incoming signals are rewritten. That means hearing loss reorients our auditory system away from our natural processing of sound.
When you start using hearing aids, it can be a little unnerving to hear those sounds again. Luckily, our brains are remarkably resilient, and many people will get wholly used to their hearing aids after a few months of regular use.
Keep seeing your hearing professional for fittings
A single fitting of your hearing aids is not usually enough. It takes a lot of time and practice to get used to the new hearing aids, and that includes continued fittings with your hearing professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them anytime you have a hearing issue.
Our staff all share a common goal: to help you reconnect to the people and things you care about and lead a healthier and happier life. If you’re ready for hearing aids yourself, contact us today for a hearing test.