Some people have described adjusting to hearing aids as kind of like walking out of a dark restaurant or movie theater and into a bright environment. You may instinctively shield your eyes and squint. This is a brain reflex that’s communicating your new surroundings are too bright.
The average person waits several years before they seek treatment for their hearing loss. Their ears are not used to hearing sounds regularly, so when they can suddenly hear more clearly than they have in years, it’s overstimulating for the brain.
The longer you have hearing loss without receiving treatment, the harsher noise will seem when you can hear them again. A Consumer Reports survey on 17,626 people discovered that at least 6 out of 10 waited over 2 years after initial experiences of hearing loss, to get hearing aids.
When that amount of time has elapsed, the brain becomes completely acclimated to listening at a substandard level. That’s why an adjustment period is necessary to become accustomed to these new sounds that are being heard.
According to the survey, about 3 in 4 people stated that it took them under a month to get more comfortable with their hearing aid.
Here are 5 Tips for a Smooth Transition to Your Hearing Aids
1. Get a Proper Fitting
Be sure that the hearing aids are properly fit in your ears. If they feel too loose or too tight, tell your hearing instrument specialist before taking them home.
The hearing aids will feel more comfortable and you’ll get the best experience from them. In the beginning of your trial period, the hearing aids should feel comfortable. You’ll still notice there’s something in your ears for the first few weeks, but it should not hurt when they rest in your ear canals.
Your hearing aid provider will show you how to correctly put your hearing aids on. Most modern hearing aids feature a program that will reduce or eliminate feedback, so it’s possible to have harsh noises or whistling sounds if the device is not properly fitted.
Show your hearing aid provider that you can correctly remove and insert your hearing aids. They’ll help you if you’re having trouble.
2. Practice Adjusting to Sounds
It’s important to be patient when learning to hear sounds again. Your hearing instrument specialist will program your devices, to calibrate the proper amplification for your unique hearing needs.
If the sounds are so loud that it’s painful, the amplification can be set at a lower volume, and gradually go higher as you become accustomed to hearing again. Most hearing aids can be programmed to slowly rise in volume over several weeks until you arrive at your goal.
It’s normal for sounds to seem too loud and high-pitched if you’re a first-time hearing aid user. The best, and only, way to get the most out of your hearing aids and allow your brain to adapt is by regular noise exposure.
Wear your hearing aids from dusk until dawn, unless you’re taking a shower or swimming in a body of water.
You should take breaks from wearing your hearing aids while adjusting. It is not recommended to enter a noisy area and remain there for hours at a time. Background noises in these types of areas can over-stimulate your listening experience, and make hearing conversations more challenging.
3. When Should You Go Back to Your Hearing Instrument Specialist?
At Pure Sound Hearing, after you have started your free hearing aid trial, you will have six months-worth of follow-up services. These services will include refittings, adjustments/fine-tuning, and a thorough cleaning done by a professional. If you are having any difficulties with your hearing aids, whether it’s the inability to hear certain sounds or any discomfort with the devices, address these issues with your hearing instrument specialist.
4. Pure Sound Hearing offers Auditory Training
If you are struggling with understanding speech sounds and following along during conversations, even with your new hearing aids, try auditory training.
These short-term programs can help improve the way you process sounds while enhancing your listening and communication.
It’s common for anyone with damaged sensory cells to require practice with hearing new sounds or sounds that they haven’t heard in several years. It’s akin to someone who has received a prosthetic limb and needs physical therapy.
5. Be Patient and give Yourself Reasonable Expectations
Many people who experience hearing loss have permanent damage to their auditory system. It’s crucial to understand that even the best hearing aids, that are tuned by the best instrument specialist, cannot completely restore your hearing. What hearing aids can do, is help preserve the hearing abilities that you still have. Many hearing aid users have acknowledged that hearing aids may not be perfect, but they can significantly improve hearing and cognitive health, and reduce depression caused by isolation.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, check out these resources.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment for a free hearing test, consultation, and hearing aid trial.