From uninterrupted conversations with loved ones to the sounds of birds singing in the trees, the rewards are plenty with well-fitting hearing aids.
However, if you’ve recently been fitted and are having trouble adjusting to a world of greater sounds, don’t despair. Hear and Say Audiologist, Sharon Bruna provides her tips for adjusting to your new hearing aid technology and ensuring they don’t end up in the bedside table drawer.
What to expect in the first few weeks
“The key thing to remember is that there’s a period of perseverance for everyone – so don’t feel discouraged if it takes you some time to initially get used to wearing your hearing aids,” said Sharon.
“You will be hearing more sounds around you, which for some people can feel quite overwhelming. This is because your brain has grown used to living with hearing loss and needs to learn to distinguish between different environmental noises again. Be patient with yourself, as it can take up to six weeks of adjustment to experience the optimum benefit from your new hearing aids.”
Tips to adjust to your hearing aids
Consistency is key: Try to wear your hearing aids for all hours you’re awake, ideally right from the time of your hearing aid fitting. Some people fall into the trap of only wearing their hearing aids when they feel they most need to, such as when out for dinner at a noisy restaurant. However, the more consistent you are at using your hearing aids, the more your brain will adjust to listening in a range of environments.
Volume: At Hear and Say, we ensure hearing aid settings allow for constant, everyday use from the get-go. Initially the volume will be set more conservatively to allow for an easier adjustment period, particularly as your brain becomes used to hearing sounds it likely hasn’t heard in a long time. While sounds may initially ‘sound different’ from what you’ve been used to, nothing should be uncomfortable. Your audiologist will test this in the clinic at your fitting appointment to ensure your listening comfort before you leave.
Physical adjustments: Most people will experience some slight irritation or itchiness in the ear when they first start wearing hearing aids. Please let your audiologist know if you are having an issue with this, as solutions can be found to ensure you’re comfortable wearing your new hearing devices. Over time many clients report they forget they even have them in!
Fine tuning: As you get used to your hearing aid settings, you will attend a series of fine-tuning appointments to gradually increase or adjust the sound. This means you may not experience the complete benefit of your new technology straight away, such as with clarity of others’ speech.
Ask questions: Your audiologist is there to support you on your journey, so don’t hesitate in asking lots of questions along the way. Make an appointment for review if you are not completely satisfied with your hearing devices. There are usually lots of adjustments which can be made to ensure you receive maximum benefit and wearing comfort.