Getting hearing aids is exciting! Hearing well is a big part of living well. You’ll notice an improvement right away, and your hearing will continue to get even better the more you use your devices. Nonetheless, we can’t expect wonders on day one and we should take the time we need to get used to our new “ears”. Here are six tips to help you get used to your new hearing aids as smoothly as possible.
1. Hearing Aids Are Not a Quick Fix
Many people who suffer from hearing loss and are either trying hearing aids for the first time or changing to a different style or brand of hearing aids expect their devices to give them perfect hearing instantly. That would be the dream. In reality, though, hearing aids are NOT a quick fix.
Truth be told, the first few days (and likely weeks) of wearing your new hearing aids may not be the smoothest. As with any drastic change, it takes time for your brain to adjust. In this case, your brain is being rewired to hear a range of sounds that it may have either never experienced before or forgotten over time. Your body is also adjusting to wearing your devices, which may feel uncomfortable and foreign at first. This is all perfectly normal, but not something that happens overnight.
2. Increase Your Hearing Aid Wear Time Gradually
Usually, it takes anywhere from two to six weeks to fully adjust to your hearing aids. It’s important to be patient and remember that the “slow and steady” approach is the one that wins the race. While it may be very tempting, try not to wear your devices for prolonged periods of time at first.
Instead, start by wearing your hearing aids for two to four hours the first few days, then gradually increase the wear time so your brain can familiarize itself with new sounds. By following this approach, you’ll be much more likely to adjust to your hearing aids faster and better than if you had tried to do too much too soon.
3. Introduce Softer, Milder Sounds at First
As you are wearing your hearing aids more and more, you should also introduce different sounds over time. If your first hearing aid experience is at a loud concert, naturally, you’ll overload your brain with too much sensory information. To avoid this, choose a quieter place to test your hearing aids upon first use, like your home.
Your home is an excellent place to test your devices because you can control the sounds around you. Experiment with the volume on your TV or radio until you find your sweet spot. Engage in conversations with loved ones and ask them to raise and lower their voice pitch so you can experience variances in sound range. Go outside and listen to the sounds of nature. Then, once you feel comfortable, you can move on to louder, more challenging noise settings like restaurants, shopping malls, and the like.
That being said, you may still feel a bit overwhelmed when you do move to more complex sound environments. This is expected and part of the adjustment process. If at any time you feel as though the sounds may be too challenging, just remove your hearing aids and try again at a later time. A large part of the hearing aid adjustment phase is recognizing your boundaries and knowing when to take a break.
4. It’s Normal for Certain Sounds to Seem Strange
Even individuals that only suffer from mild hearing loss will experience a significant change in the way they both experience and interpret sound when they try on hearing aids for the first time or switch to a different style or brand. Your brain hasn’t heard certain sounds for a long time, so naturally, things may seem a bit off at the beginning. In fact, you may even feel as though your own voice sounds strange or may be startled by everyday noises, but this is perfectly normal and temporary.
Think of it this way. If you were once an elite athlete with a rigorous training regime then stopped for years, you wouldn’t expect to have the same endurance you once did the moment you decide to get back in shape. The same goes for your hearing. Like an athlete gradually trains their body to perform at an optimal level, hearing aids gradually train your brain into recognizing and processing sound effectively. It’s not something that should be rushed.
5. You Are NOT Alone
It can be very frustrating when you first start to adjust to your new hearing aids, but this is just the first step in your journey toward better hearing. Remember, you are not alone. All hearing aid users go through this process. Before you know it, you’ll be fully used to your devices.
6. Better Hearing Is a Journey, Not a Race
Be patient and consistent with your hearing device wear, but don’t force it if you feel overwhelmed. Above all, remember that this is a new experience that takes time to get used to. You’ve already made the first step in the journey toward better hearing, so listen to your body’s natural cues and take the slow and steady approach toward the finish line.
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