Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids for the First Time
When you get a pair of hearing aids for the first time, you expect to hear like you did as a child. Brand new hearing aids…brand new hearing! NO! Not so much! Why not?… I just bought new glasses and I see perfectly.
These two statements apply.
1) We usually lose our hearing slowly, over a period of many years.
Because most hearing loss is a result of the aging process, it occurs in small amounts over a long period (decades) of time. We tend to adapt to this slow, sensory loss and adjust without really knowing it. We read lips, pay closer attention, turn up the volume on the T.V., etc. In fact, those around us are more of our hearing loss than we, ourselves, are.
2) Our sense of hearing involves many “moving parts”.
Hearing is our most complicated sense. It is, in fact, an engineering wonder. Our ears convert sound energy into mechanical energy, into hydraulic energy, into nervous energy…and if that’s not enough, it does it in milliseconds: That’s FAST for a lot of moving parts.
If you consider these two facts, it is easier to understand why your new hearing aids haven’t given you “brand new hearing”, immediately. Bringing your hearing back to “normal” is a process that can take several months. Audiologists call it “adaptation”. The many moving parts of our hearing system must be “conditioned” like a muscle that has lost it “tone”.
Digital hearing aids have micro chips that increase the power of your new hearing aids by slowly allowing loudness to grow over time. As your “moving parts” become accustomed to the new sound, the micro chips allow regulated growths of loudness to enter your ears until your prescription is reach. This new technology has increased satisfaction levels for new hearing aid users.
There are many other ways for you to increase your acceptance and to be successful with your new hearing aids. Here are a few tips:
* Start by using your hearing aids in a quiet place. Listen for sounds that you may not have heard before…a ticking clock, an air vent, the beep of the microwave oven.
* Adjust to the sound of your own voice by reading aloud.
* Listen to the running water in the kitchen and bathroom. It may sound loud and exaggerated at first, but will become normal as time passes. Do the same with other sounds around the house.
* Talk to different people and listen for different voice qualities. Speech clarity differs greatly from person to person and will improve for you the more you participate.
* Wear your new hearing aids as long as you can throughout the day. Increase the wearing time as you adapt to the sound and feel.
* Venture out to different places to experience the variety of sound in your world. Traffic noise, the supermarket and restaurants offer many types and loudness levels of sound.
* Involve your family and friends in your listening experiences. You will get much more from your “new ears” if you join in on activities with those you like to be with.
* Crowded places with competing sounds and background noise will be a challenge at first. DO NOT give up. Your hearing in these places will improve as you become more accustomed to your “new ears”.
* Make your hearing aids part of your everyday life. Be patient. It takes some time, but the reward is worth it.
Always tell your Audiologist what it is that is not to your satisfaction. Modern, digital hearing aids are very programmable to your needs and changes in your lifestyle and environment. Most problems can be overcome.