If you have a hearing impairment, the sounds of nature, conversations and laughter from family and friends, or listening to your favorite music can really come to life with a good pair of hearing aids.
If you have been living with any range of hearing loss for an extensive period of time, using hearing aids to hear sounds again can be overwhelming for your ears. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time to adjust to new hearing aids.
Things To Expect During the First Few Weeks
Depending on how serious your hearing loss is, you environment could sound muffled, or you may only be capable of identifying certain noises. A hearing aid will unexpectedly shift your pattern of perception. While you are becoming familiar with how hearing aids function, ordinary noises might sound louder than anticipated. You own voice, and other familiar noises, may sound different to you.
There are some things that you will need to get acquainted with.
This includes becoming acquainted to the physical feeling of having a hearing instrument in your ear. Your brain will have to recognize and process many stimuli again. A lot of time may have passed since you were last able to experience a complete range of sounds. Most of the background noises that those who have normal hearing learned to ignore, will sound new to you. Initially, you will find it difficult to tune out those noises.
As you adapt to hearing the stimulating sounds around you, your brain will re-learn how to subdue background noises and focus on sounds that are important. You need to be patient. After a few weeks or months, most wearers don’t even notice they’re wearing a hearing device.
You don’t have to wear your new hearing aids for the entire day, during your initial wear time. If sounds are too overwhelming, you can remove the hearing aid for as long as you feel is necessary. You should start wearing them for a few hours on a daily basis, and then gradually increase the amount of time each day until you can wear from dawn until dusk.
Learn How to Handle and Take Care of Your Hearing Aids
To adjust to wearing hearing aids, familiarize yourself with the devices. Ask your hearing instrument specialist to explain how to insert and remove the hearing aids, and practice on a daily basis.
Learn techniques on how to maintain and clean your hearing devices. Test the settings on your hearing aid and notice the differences.
Using Your Hearing Aids at Home
Start by wearing your hearing aid device in a quiet environment. This will make it easier for you to distinguish sounds and recognize them correctly, without the distractions of street noises or other people’s conversations.
Eventually it would be a good idea to walk outside. When you are outdoors, you’ll have the option of focusing on several different quiet sounds, without loud background noise.
Engage in Conversations with Others
Your first conversations that you have while wearing your hearing aid should be in a relaxed environment. Speak with no more than two people, without any background noises. You can disclose how exactly your hearing impairment changes the way you communicate, and how they can help during conversations.
3 Tips For Engaging in Conversations with Background Noise
1. Select the best location for listening. The microphones in a hearing aid are typically aligned to the front. If the individual that you are speaking to is seated behind you or off to your side, you may find it more difficult to understand what they are saying. Stand or sit to opposite side of the person you are speaking to. It is best to be face to face if you are able to, and need to, lip read.
2. If a discussion is happening in a large group, ask the participants to speak clearly and have one person speak at a time. Conversations can move along quickly, so don’t become discouraged if you can’t follow along. You can just ask someone to summarize what was said.
3. Look out for facial expressions and gestures. If you watch the mouth of the individual that you are speaking to, you can learn how to translate the body language into words. The brain unconsciously uses this method to comprehend words that are mumbled. With some practice, anyone can train themselves to use this technique.
Handling Loud Environments
After you have become accustomed to your hearing aids, wear them in a place that has high levels or background noises. You can determine how well you can separate the background noises and control a conversation in these environments.
Improved Hearing as a New Experience
After being able to hear again with your new hearing aids, your new sense of hearing will not initially be the best. In fact, it could be a little unpleasant. The sound of your own voice may be unsettling. This is known as the occlusion effect. This is when a person perceives “hollow” or “booming” echo-like sounds in their own voice. It’s caused by bone-conducted sound vibrations reverberating of the ear canal, which may result in lower frequencies being intensified. The sounds have been characterized as “your own voice resonating in your head”. In order to resolve this problem, a hearing instrument specialist can change the ventilation and amplification ratio.
3 Tips to Remember
1. Hearing aid wearers, and those who they communicate with need to be patient. Do not expect too much progress in a short amount of time.
2. Concentration is also important. Those who have hearing loss need to concentrate harder to follow along in a conversation, particularly in a large group. Be easy on yourself, and eventually you will find it easier to talk in larger groups.
3. Be honest to those who you are communicating with. Don’t simply smile, nod, or be agreeable. Let people know when you don’t understand something, otherwise everyone will end up being frustrated.
If you are hard of hearing and need hearing aids, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer a variety of hearing aid options at discount prices!