It takes time to get comfortable with using a hearing aid to hear again, especially when people aren't used to the higher level of sound. When people lose their hearing they become conditioned to silence, so everyday sounds, returned through the use of a hearing aid, can seem too loud, even overwhelming. Getting used to hearing aids means remembering a few simple rules.
Slow and Steady: As Dr. Neil Bauman points out on Hearing Loss Help, “Your brain needs from 30 to 90 days or even longer to complete this process [getting used toa hearing aid]—so if you give up before this time, you will think hearing aids don't work for you and you could be very wrong.” If you are overwhelmed by sound, don’t give up on your hearing aids. Wear them for portions of the day to begin with and avoid wearing them during social settings when they need the most adjusting. Make sure you set a goal, a definite amount of time that you will wear your hearing aids every day. Increase that time every few days. If you do this consistently, one day you will realize that you have worn your hearing aid all day and never once thought of taking them off!
Get It Right: In addition to overwhelming sounds, your own voice can seem different when you first start wearing a hearing aid. The occlusion effect—the hollow or booming sound of your voice when you wear a hearing aid can be fixed with adjustments from you audiologist. As Hear-it.org points out, “In most cases, creating a passageway through the hearing aid to unblock the ear solves the problem. This allows the vibrations of the patient's own voice to escape the ear. A larger passage promotes a more normal sounding voice.” It’s also important to make sure your hearing aids fit comfortably. If after wearing your hearing aid for a while, you find yourself uncomfortable, your audiologist can adjust them. In most cases adjustments to hearing aids are free with purchase!
Have Realistic Expectations: As the Better Hearing Institute notes, “There is a common misconception that hearing aids are the "cure all" for hearing loss. In reality, improving communication involves a long-term rehabilitative process in which the hearing aid is only part. As such, you should enter into this rehabilitative process with realistic goals. Know what to expect from the hearing aid and your hearing health provider.”
Today’s hearing aid technology can provide necessary relief from the silence of hearing loss, helping to avoid serious complications of untreated hearing loss—dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression. Don’t give up on your hearing aids. Seek help from your audiologist to get adjustments that can make your experience with your hearing aid more positive.
If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!