Getting hearing aids is exciting- but adjusting to your new hearing aids may not be something you took into account. Hearing aids aren’t simply like glasses for your ears – the they require some time and commitment to fully adjust to how they assist your hearing. How do you adjust to hearing the world with your new devices? Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
Wear Them Every Day
When you have hearing loss that has been left untreated, it actually changes the way your brain processes sound. This means that adjusting to hearing aids doesn’t just mean your ears need to adapt, your brain also has to relearn how to hear.
The psychological adaptation can make getting used to hearing aids seem frustrating at first, but if you commit to wearing your hearing aids every day, gradually your hearing will acclimate to them. If your hearing aids seem jarring initially, start by wearing them for only a few hours each day and gradually ramp up to full time use. Most people adjust to their hearing aids within about two weeks of getting them and wearing them consistently.
Keep Them at Consistent Levels
While you are getting used to your new hearing aids, it’s not the ideal time to fiddle with their settings or volume. When you first start using hearing aids, you’ll be on a bit of a learning curve as you get used to a new way of hearing and your ears and brain reestablish lost connections. Making frequent adjustments during this stage isn’t in your best interest, as you haven’t settled into using hearing aids.
Once you’re fully accustomed to hearing with your new devices, then you can start learning the best ways to adjust them to different environments. For starters, try to leave the settings of your device alone and take notes on what is and isn’t working for you.
It may surprise you that you’ll need to practice listening in order to fully adjust to your hearing aids. Hearing aids are programmed and fitted to help you fill in the gaps in your hearing caused by hearing loss. The way you hear without assistance means your brain has been compensating for missing information. You have to reintroduce your brain to things it has become unaccustomed to.
Start practicing your listening in a quiet room. Wearing your hearing aids, listen for small sounds. When you hear something, see if you can trace the noise to it’s source. When you are comfortable listening for sounds, try listening to people speaking on the radio or television. Also adjust to listening by having one on one conversations with your friends and family in a comfortable and quiet environment.
Read To Yourself
An excellent way to connect speech to meaning is through reading out loud to your self or listening to an audio book while reading along to the text in print. Reading while listening helps you reconnect sound to meaning and can quicken your comprehension rate. Reading aloud to yourself has the added bonus of familiarizing yourself to the sound of your own voice through hearing aids.
There are other ways to connect sound and text as well. Try watching movies and television with subtitles on, and reading along with listening to the dialogue. Reading while listening not only builds connections in your auditory system, it can be very entertaining as well!
Talk With Your Hearing Specialist
Programming your hearing aids has to be an ongoing process to make sure they properly assist your hearing loss. Be prepared to check in with your audiologist as you adapt to hearing aids and let them know what is working and what isn’t.
It’s a good idea to start a small notebook when you start wearing your hearing aids. When you encounter an unpleasant or difficult sound or situation, make a note of it. Between appointments continue adding to your notebook. Before your follow-up with your hearing specialist, review your notes. You may be surprised that your hearing has adapted and some of your initial complaints no longer pose an issue. The sounds that remain troublesome are important to bring to your audiologist’s attention so they can make adjustments to the programming of your hearing aids.
When there’s an issue with your hearing, Moore Audiology can help you find the answer. Our comprehensive hearing testing helps you stay on top of your hearing health and connect with great treatment options.