If you decide to try hearing aids, you will probably have a long initial consultation with an audiologist or other hearing healthcare practitioner to assess your hearing and choose the hearing aids that are right for you. After a few weeks, your hearing aids will arrive and the audiologist will contact you for a two-hour visit to fit and program them and make sure everything is working properly. Now what?
Many people feel a bit overwhelmed after they head home from their fitting. Because hearing aids can be an excellent hearing loss solution for many people, it takes work and patience to adjust to them and learn how to hear in a different way. Here are some good tips for adjusting to your hearing aids without overtaxing your ears or getting discouraged:
- Remember that working to have the best fit with your hearing aids is an ongoing process. They will likely need to be adjusted at least one more time.
- Build a community of support. Talk to other people who wear hearing aids to see what they struggled with and what worked for them. Everyone’s hearing is different, but hearing from others that things will eventually work out will help you to stay patient and push forward in finding the best solution for you.
- It might take some time getting used to having a device in your ears. They might feel a little bit uncomfortable at first, but they should never cause you pain – if they do, talk to your audiologist or doctor. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to learn how to properly insert your hearing aids, but the best thing to do is take your time. Also, check to make sure you have the correct hearing aid in each ear, since they are not interchangeable.
- Faint sounds that you had been unable to hear previously, such as a ticking clock or the rustling of paper, might sound too loud to you at first, so practice wearing your new devices in a quiet room to start.
- Your voice will also sound pretty different to you because your ear canals are covered by the hearing aids. Don’t worry – you don’t sound funny to anyone else. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you hear a recording of your voice and don’t realize that’s what you sound like. If you have an open-fit hearing aid, this might not be an issue for you.
- It will take awhile to get used to background noise and conversations with multiple people, so practice hearing again by listening to books on tape, listening to the TV quietly and having a face-to-face conversation with one person.
- You will probably start out only wearing your hearing aids for a few hours at first, but plan to wear them a little longer each day.
You’ll have a follow-up visit with the audiologist who can discuss with you what you’re struggling with and adjust your hearing aids. Don’t get discouraged! Rely on assistive technology as you grow accustomed to your hearing aids. For example, using a captioned telephone that shows you captions of what people say over the phone is a great aid to reinforce that you are hearing things correctly.