After receiving your new hearing aids and wearing them, there is an adjustment period - especially for new hearing aid users. The first days of wearing your new devices are important for your journey towards better hearing. This is usually when you determine whether you want to continue wearing the devices. Here are 13 tips on how to smoothly transition into a daily hearing aid user.
1. In the beginning, they will feel strange. Do not feel discouraged.
In the same way that your feet need to break in a new pair of shoes or your nose needs to get accustomed to the feeling of eyeglasses resting on it, your ears need time to get used to hearing aids. If you wear eyeglasses, here is some advice on which style of hearing aids you should wear.
2. Start by only wear the hearing aids for a few hours each day.
Based on your comfort level, you may wear your new hearing aids in familiar environments and situations during the initial wearing period. Hearing instrument specialists would recommend that you try wearing them from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. You will eventually become less and less aware that you are even wearing hearing aids. When your brain can recognize and filter out more sounds, in addition to determining whether a noise is bothering you, this can help your hearing instrument specialist adjust the devices to your specific needs at your follow-up appointment. Wearing your hearing aids more often, even when there is very little noise occurring, allows you to detect the sounds and filter out noise. As a result, your brain will acclimate at a faster rate.
3. Start listening in a quiet room.
During your first day, find a quiet room to sit in. Simply listen to faint sounds and your brain will eventually get used to them, such as the sound of your refrigerator humming or a tea kettle whistling. Initially, everything might seem too loud. That’s only because your brain probably hasn’t heard these noises in a long time, so it’s getting used to hearing these sounds again. You can keep a journal to make note of what’s bothering you, and bring them up during your follow-up appointment if they are still bothersome. Your hearing instrument specialist will make the necessary adjustments.
4. Do not adjust the volume too often.
Most modern hearing aids will automatically adjust to your environment, so you probably won’t need to make manual adjustments too often. If you raise the volume levels, do not make them too loud. It’s not advised that you make your hearing aids do what fully-functioning ears cannot do, for example, hear faint sounds from afar. This is not how hearing aids work, and you’ll actually cause more damage to your hearing. Most people with hearing loss want to hear clearer, not louder.
5. Practice talking with a group of people.
You will want to start having conversations with close friends and family. Their voices will be easier to identify. Due to current circumstances, it is advised to set up a Zoom chat or FaceTime with one another. Active listening is a key factor in hearing. A speaker’s face must be easy to see, so ask others to look directly at you and make sure the area that you are talking to them in isn’t dark, but brightly lit. This will help you see their facial expressions, read lips, and notice their body language.
6. Ask friends and family to turn the TV to a “normal” volume setting.
Your new hearing aids should help you hear better, therefore, you can lower the volume levels to how people with normal hearing would set it. Ask your friends or family members to set the TV to an appropriate volume level, and try to keep it at that level.
7. Read the captions or subtitles to movies or shows.
Listening to words while reading them, is a good method to retrain your brain to associate the sound with language. You can do this by switching on the captions while watching a movie or show.
8. Listen to an audiobook and read along with a physical or digital copy.
This is similar to the previous tip. Listen to the audio version of a book, while the physical copy or digital copy on your tablet. You may also ask someone to read to you out loud while following along.
9. Read aloud to yourself.
Initially, your own voice will sound different when wearing hearing aids, but eventually, you’ll get used to it. Reading out loud will help you quickly become accustomed to your own voice, and retrain yourself on how to speak at a normal volume.
10. Close your eyes and engage in some listening exercises.
Try to identify the direction that the sounds are emanating from, without looking around for the sound’s source. You may also try to listen to determine the difference between sounds and speech patterns.
11. If your hearing aid features telecoils or t-coils, use looping systems.
Many public spaces have looping systems set up that transmit wireless signals, which are then received in the telecoil feature of a hearing aid. Not all hearing aids have t-coils. Some phones also feature looping systems. Ask your hearing instrument specialist whether your hearing aids have the telecoil. If they do, request that they are activated when fitting and programming your device.
12. Make talking on the phone easier by placing the receiver over your hearing aid’s microphone.
If you still prefer to use a phone to talk to someone, it’s recommended that you slightly tilt the phone forward so that the receiver is hovering over your microphone. This will help you hear better. For behind-the-ear models, the microphone is typically located on the hearing aid part that rests behind the ear. Angling the phone will help reduce the amount of feedback when holding the phone to your ear/microphone. Or, you can make things much easier by using Bluetooth® to stream your phone calls directly into your hearing aids. Talk to your hearing instrument specialist about this.
13. Steadily begin to wear your hearing aids all day.
After two weeks, your hearing aids should be worn from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. If you go swimming or take a shower, remove the hearing aids. If your hearing aids become submerged in water for any amount of time, contact your hearing instrument specialist. If you own a hearing aid dryer, put your hearing aid in it. You may also use some uncooked rice to soak up the moisture and dry it out.
Your brain must adjust to sounds so that they will become effective in your journey towards better hearing.
Hearing aids can change your health and your life for the better. If you or a loved one would like a trial for hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.