When you get fitted for hearing aids for the first time, there is an adjustment period and it can take up to four months to get used to wearing them. If you or someone you know is about to get their first set of hearing aids, here are some helpful tips that will help you adjust. While getting used to hearing aids can be challenging at times, you'll soon find just how comfortable they are and how much they add to your life!
Hearing aids make a big difference in quality of life for millions of people. Because of aging, disease or injury, sometimes the small sensory cells in the inner ear become damaged and don't work properly. Even when there are surviving cells, you still can't hear as well as you could before. But a hearing aid amplifies sound vibrations so the remaining cells can hear them. It's the cells' job to convert these vibrations into neural signals, which then get passed along to the brain.
Since it's probably been a long time since you last heard traffic driving by or the hum of an air conditioner, there's a good chance your brain forgot how to process those sounds. When you turn on your hearing aids for the first time, all these new and different sounds can be startling. It'll take your brain some time to learn how to process them again and filter out background noise. During this time, remember to be patient and to stay positive. Eventually, you'll get past the adjustment period and your hearing aids will feel natural.
As your brain acclimates to these new sounds, there are some things you can do to make the process easier. For example, it's best to start slow. Even in your own house, there can be lots of new noises to take in, from creaky stairs to clothes tumbling in the dryer. Give your brain enough time to adjust to them before trying louder environments, like parties and crowded restaurants.
While you adjust, keep in mind that hearing aids can't fix your hearing loss. There may be some sounds you still have trouble hearing. You'll also have to get used to how the devices feel in your ears and how all the features work. Your hearing aid specialist can make adjustments to correct any issues you might run into. For instance, if the sound of your own voice is bothering you or if you hear whistling feedback sounds, adjustments can usually help.
With the right knowledge and education about what to expect, you'll be able to adjust to your new hearing aids before you know it. You'll be wearing these hearing aids for the next three to seven years, so a few months of adjustment will eventually feel like nothing. If you have trouble getting used to them, keep at it and don't give up. Bring up any concerns you have with your specialist and you can work through them together.