You’ve recently gotten new hearing aids. Awesome! There’s a whole world of sounds that you’re going to experience. However, like many other people who are new to hearing aids, you may be surprised to find that you may not be adjusting to them as quickly as you may have originally imagined. Not to worry, this all perfectly normal since your brain and body are getting used to hearing a range of sounds again as well as the feel of the actual devices. That being said, there are a few things you can do to speed the process along.
Below are some activities you can enjoy again in the first two weeks after receiving your devices that should help you adjust to your new hearing aids faster.
Experiment with Your Hearing Aids at Home or Other Familiar Environments
The more familiar the environment you test your new hearing aids in, the easier it will be for you to adjust to them since you won’t have to worry about too many unexpected or startling noises.
We recommend starting with the most familiar environment first—your home—then gradually testing other settings. If you feel comfortable you can also try wearing your hearing aids in other quiet areas, like a library or loved one’s home. However, try to stick to these environments for a week or two before trying out louder ones so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Read Out Loud
One of the most common challenges new hearing aid users report is that their own voices sound strange. This is to be expected and will resolve within the first week or two after wearing your new devices. However, the more you speak out loud, the faster you’ll get used to the sound of your voice. A great way to do this is by reading something out loud. You can read by yourself or you can have a loved one come over and read with you so they can let you know if the pace, volume, and tone of your voice is appropriate given the material.
Have In-Person Conversations with a Small Group of People
Invite a small group of people (two-three tops) to your house or another quiet setting so you can learn to associate the words they are speaking—and how they are speaking them—with the nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, hand movements, and body language, you were previously accustomed to. It’s best to start with family and friends, since their voices and cues are already familiar to you.
Call Someone on the Phone
Calling someone on the phone is a great way to get used to your new hearing aids because, unlike in-person conversations, you can’t read the person’s lips or see their gestures. This forces you to focus solely on the sound of the person’s voice, their pitch, tone, and the words they are speaking. Be sure to let the other person know you are using hearing aids and ask them to speak slowly and clearly.
Spend Time Outdoors
There are a ton of amazing sounds that you can enjoy outside. Start by exploring your own backyard and neighborhood since, depending on where you live, there can be a mix of different (and sometimes very loud) sounds happening at the same time and may feel overwhelming. Take a nice walk around a park or sit outside and just take in the sound of the wind, animals, and other people. Once you feel more comfortable, you can take it one step further by closing your eyes and trying to pinpoint where the sounds are coming from.
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