Have trouble with your hearing? You might be in need of a new hearing aid. You may be tempted to go for an audiologist appointment but there's an easier way to test your hearing nowadays: through a mobile phone app. The ‘My acuity app’ is one such example; it enables you to take a hearing test from the comfort of your own home and checks whether or not you require a hearing aid.
When you realize that you need to wear hearing aids, the first thing to understand is that hearing aids function to improve the hearing and speech comprehension of hard-of-hearing people, and not bring their normal hearing back. The next thing you have to do is get the right hearing aid for you.
Now that you have got your shiny new hearing aids, you are ready to dive into a better hearing life. But wait. Everything sounds different and funny. It's ok. Getting adjusted to hearing aids takes time. You are not only learning about adjusting and managing your hearing aids, but your brain is also relearning sounds and stimuli that it might have forgotten over time. This can be a frustrating transition and sometimes it can take its toll on your patience. But, don’t give up just yet! Try these super helpful tips to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Tips For Getting Used To New Hearing Aids
Getting used to hearing aids takes time and patience. When you start wearing them for the first time, you go through this ‘adjustment period’. Thus, this time is very important as not only are you getting used to your new hearing aids, but you are also getting used to a different world of hearing.
The following tips will help you get used to your hearing aid so that you can enjoy your new journey to the fullest.
Wearing hearing aids, in the beginning, will bring some stress and tension. Be prepared for this. Don't get frustrated if the first time you wear hearing aids you feel all weird and funny. Everything will feel different for some time. Just like your nose needs time to get used to glasses resting on it, your ears also need some time to get used to the feeling of hearing aids. In the beginning, you will consciously feel your hearing aid sitting on or in your ear, depending on the type of hearing aid you wear. But as time will pass you will forget they are even there.
Learning The Basics:
When trying to get used to new hearing aids you are not just learning to hear better, you are also learning about hearing aids. You are learning how to put them in, how to remove them, how to clean them and how to change their batteries. You can also learn about the different features your hearing aid offers such as wireless connectivity, telecoil, etc. Acuity Wireless RIC Digital Hearing Amplifier Earphones from Hear+Hi are made compatible with iPhones, and Android smartphones with wireless connectivity. Some hearing aids, like the Hear+Hi True Wireless Hearing Amplifiers, even adjust their activity to your environment through the digital signal processor. Learning the basics of hearing aids can help you tons in getting used to hearing aids.
Slowly Build Up Wear Time:
New hearing aid wearers need to slowly build up time on their aids. Don’t start wearing your hearing aids the whole day from the get-go. All new things require time for your body to become adapted to them, and hearing aids are no exception. Start by wearing them once or twice a day, a few hours at a time. Only wearing them at home is a great idea, initially, as there tend to be fewer background noises. Gradually increase the time you wear them until you are comfortable enough to wear them all the time. Take them outside. Experiment with different hearing environments and learn to live with a hearing aid. After a few weeks, your hearing aids will become an integral part of your life.
Listening To Everyday Noises:
One major tip for new hearing aid wearers is to start wearing hearing aids at home first. Before wearing hearing aids your brain has adjusted to hearing sounds differently. When you start wearing your new hearing aids it takes time for the brain to adjust to these everyday sounds. Even very faint sounds like the humming of the refrigerator, the ticking of a clock, the rustling of leaves, etc. might sound very loud at first. This is because your brain has forgotten how to sort out background noise and prioritize the important sounds. When you wear a hearing aid your brain has to relearn everything. The more you wear your hearing aids at home the more easily you will adjust to different sounds. You will be able to detect and filter the unwanted sounds so that when you go outside your brain will be able to accommodate the changes faster.
Listening to everyday noises is important to get used to wearing new hearing aids.
Listen To Your Voice:
One of the biggest differences people feel while wearing hearing aids for the first time is in their own voice. It may sound funny or even unfamiliar at first. Your own chewing and swallowing sounds might sound a lot louder than you want them to; if you want to hear them at all, that is! Focus on adjusting to your own voice first by, for example, talking to a pet or reading out loud; these techniques can help you to become accustomed to your voice again.
Communicate With People:
Hearing loss might have affected your social life as well and you would be excited to start it again with new hearing aids. Start by communicating with one person at a time. Try communicating in a quiet environment first, until your brain gets used to avoiding the background noise and just focusing on the important sounds.
After practicing conversation with a single person, try having a group conversation. You may find it difficult to join a conversation at first but you will get used to it with time. Inform them about your hearing aids and ask them to be patient with you while you are adjusting to something new. You can always ask your peers to repeat something, in case you don't get what they are saying. Hearing requires active listening so make sure to face the speaker. This will help you to listen better and also help your brain to reconnect the dots between vocal patterns, sounds, and nonverbal body language. This is not just a learning process for your conscious self, but for your subconscious brain too.
Hearing Aids In Noisy Situations:
When you have worn your hearing aids for quite a time then try going out to noisy environments; like restaurants and offices. The noisier the environment, the greater the intensity of background noise. The more you have worn your hearing aids, your brain will have learned to manage the background noises.
Move On To Technical Devices:
When you have worn your hearing aids for a few days and are getting comfortable with them, then move on to using other devices such as watching television or listening to the radio. Try phone calls. Keep the volume low at first and adjust to how the volume feels good in your ear. Tilt your phone close to your aids microphone so there is the least feedback. If your hearing aids have wireless connectivity, such as in Acuity Wireless Stereo Assistive Hearing Amplified Earphones by Hear+Hi, then connect your hearing aids to your smartphone. Download the apps and enjoy connecting to the world through your hearing aid.
Additional Practices To Adjust To Your New Hearing Aids:
Simply practice hearing.
Concentrate on all the sounds you can hear around you in the quiet environment of the home.
Reading out loud to yourself helps you get used to your own voice. Initially, it may sound funny and loud but you’ll get used to it.
Reading out loud is a good practice to get used to your own voice
Read a book along with hearing it on audiobook.
It makes your brain learn to make connections between words and sounds.
Turn the subtitles on.
Read the words of the character and hear them speak these words. Your brain will learn what all words sound like. And gives you practice getting used to speech.
Problems, In The Beginning, With New Hearing Aids:
Adjusting to a new hearing aid is a slow process and you might find some difficulties in the beginning, such as:
- Uncomfortable hearing aid. People may find hearing aids uncomfortable to wear in the start. If you feel like that, be sure to double-check that you have the perfect size of earmolds for you. Also, wear your hearing aids for less time in the start to get used to them.
- Loud sound. It is very common for new hearing aid wearers to feel like their voice is way too loud in their own ears. This sensation is called the occlusion effect and gets adjusted in some time.
- Feedback from hearing aid. If your hearing aid is not properly in your ear, or if it is clogged with earwax, you might face feedback or a whistling sound in your ear.
- Hearing background noise. A hearing aid usually picks up all the sounds around you. Some of which you want to hear and some of them you don't want to hear. With time you get used to it and your brain will start ignoring the unimportant sounds.
How To Help A Loved One With New Hearing Aids?
When someone starts wearing a hearing aid, friends and family provide a valuable source of support. The most important thing to helping your loved one is to be patient. Yes, they can hear you more properly now but they need some time to adjust to your sound. Be patient and don't expect too much in a short time. Getting used to new hearing aids is a slow and gradual process. The initial few days or weeks could be frustrating and tough but the support of a loved one can make all the difference. Have a one-on-one conversation with them. Be there if your loved ones are having a tough time. You can quiz them on sound recognition and help them by reading a book out loud so they recognize and learn to lip-read. Learning more about hearing aids, their features, types, and hearing aid accessories also helps a ton. With more knowledge, you will be able to offer more help and understanding. Learn about the benefits and discuss them.
Don’t Give Up
Your objective, by wearing hearing aids, is to make your hearing better and it will happen when you wear them all the time. A slow and progressive approach is the best for it. Take it slow, take time to adjust to your new hearing aids. Don't rush or get discouraged. It might take several weeks to adjust and get used to them.
However, when you wear your hearing aids regularly you will be able to benefit from them in an exceptional way.
FAQs about getting used to your hearing aids:
Can New Hearing Aids Make You Tired?
Yes, wearing hearing aids for the first time can be somewhat tiring. Most people go through this phase called listener fatigue; where they feel tired or drained from listening with hearing aids. This is because they are adjusting to wearing so many sounds they might have not heard in a long time. So this can feel tiring for your brain and for yourself. But that does not mean you give up. It is just a phase and with time your brain and ears will get used to wearing hearing aids.
How Long Will It Take To Get Used To New Hearing Aids?
It takes some time for people to adjust to their new hearing aids. Most people get used to them in around three to four weeks but for some people, it can take up to months. This depends on how long you are wearing your hearing aids. If you start slowly with your hearing aids and gradually move on to wearing them more, then you will get comfortable with them. However, if you stop wearing them or wear them for a few hours a day you will not get used to them. It's essential to be patient.