Hearing aids bring back or introduce you to an auditory world that you may have forgotten or never experienced before. If you have become accustomed to living with hearing difficulties, you may find the new auditory sensations overwhelming and jarring at first. Also, you might not realize that it can take a while to get used to your hearing aids. Along with learning how your new hearing aids work, you also have to learn to deal with the new stimuli your brain will experience. While your hearing care professional will be instrumental in getting you used to them, there are some things you can do to adjust and get used to hearing aids.
The Familiarization Phase
Getting used to wearing hearing aids will take some time, but the first few weeks will be incredibly important. You will be getting used to the physical sensation of having the hearing aids on and familiarizing yourself with different sounds, including the sound of your own voice.
Your voice will sound different, and some sounds may be too loud or muffled. As your pattern of perception changes, everything should come into focus, you should get familiar with different sounds, and your hearing should become much clearer.
Adjusting can be overwhelming, and this is why it is important to not be put off or discouraged during this familiarization phase.
Wear The Hearing Aids at Home
Numerous sounds and sound sources might be jarring, especially if they are coming from multiple directions. Wearing your hearing aids at home or in quiet surroundings will help your brain to start processing sounds and their perception.
Doing this will also help your brain learn to identify important sounds and ones that it needs to ignore. Remember that those with normal hearing have learned to ignore certain sounds to minimize the amount of information their brains process, and your brain needs to learn to do the same thing too.
Start Slow and Build Up
It is also a good idea to start by wearing hearing aids about twice a day for two hours at a time. Doing so will help you get used to the physical sensation of wearing hearing aids and perceiving sound. If you have two hearing aids, wear them at the same time. Do this in quiet surroundings as discussed above.
Once you get more comfortable with sensation and sound perception, you can start increasing the amount of time you wear them in a day and varying the surroundings you wear them. Keep doing this and you should be able to wear them all day in different surroundings. Do not sleep or shower in them.
You will get used to wearing them the longer you do so, so try to wear them as long as you can and are comfortable with.
You can start having one-on-one conversations, something that is incredibly important in helping you learn how to focus on human voices and to discern the directionality of sound. Having conversations is also important for getting used to what many people describe as an echo of their own voices.
This is very common and should not worry you. The more you talk while wearing your hearing aids, the more you will get used to your voice. Reading aloud and talking to a pet will also help with this, while also helping you get used to the sound of your own voice.
Watch Something While Using Your Hearing Aids
TV shows and movies have numerous sounds in them, and you can adjust the volume. They will help you get used to hearing different sounds at the same time, while also helping you know which volume level you are most comfortable with.
If you find that there are too many sounds and too much noise in TV shows and movies, some experts recommend starting with news bulletins on the TV or radio. News presenters are trained to articulate clearly, information flows from one point to the next, and there is no distraction from external sounds.
Take The Group Challenge
Once you are comfortable with one-on-one conversations, can handle sounds from several sources, and are comfortable enough hearing your own voice, you should try having group conversations. You will inevitably find yourself in a situation where you need to follow a conversation being had between numerous people, and so learning how to do so is important.
You may want to explain that you are using hearing aids and are just getting used to them. Ask everyone to speak clearly and in turn to make the conversation easier to follow and to avoid confusion.
An important part of such group conversations is gestures and facial expressions. Make an effort to listen while watching for both, so you can translate them into words. The brain uses this trick to make sense of unclear or mumbled words, and you can learn how to use the same skill with a little practice.
Use Your Hearing Aids in Noisy Places
Once you have become used to your hearing aids, you should try using them in places where it’s noisy. These should not necessarily be loud but provide enough background noise that you have to make a conscious effort to keep conversations going.
If you can filter background noise and carry conversations, you have come a long way and should congratulate yourself!
Report Any Pain
Your audiologist will do a great job of ensuring you get the best hearing aids that fit comfortably in your ears. They may let you know that they will cause tenderness, but they should not cause pain. If your hearing aids cause pain, you should talk to your audiologists as soon as possible.
Often, they only need a little adjustment to fit better and alleviate the pain they are causing.