Tips for New Hearing Aid Wearers
Hearing aids are one of the most common ways to improve hearing loss and other hearing conditions, like tinnitus. Wearing hearing aids for the first time can require an adjustment period, but there are some tricks to help you get used to them much faster and get the hang of them.
Give yourself time to get used to them
Hearing aids can take some time to get accustomed to wearing, so don’t be surprised if they seem strange to you at first. Your brain needs time to adjust and remember how to hear again, identify and interpret a wider range of sounds. They can also feel a bit odd on your ears at first, and you may need a few days to get used to the feeling of them before they feel truly comfortable. This adjustment period is completely normal.
When you first put your new hearing aids on, sit at home in a quiet place. Take some time to sit quietly and just listen. This gives the chance to get used to the new sound quality in your home. You might notice some noises at first that you weren’t aware of before that now seem very loud, such as the clock ticking or the hum of your air conditioning. They won’t seem as loud when you get used to them; they only sound loud now because you aren’t used to them. Your brain will get used to them again, and they will become part of the normal background noise of life.
Getting your hearing skills back can take some practice. When you’re using hearing aids for the first time, start off by only wearing them for a few hours at a time. At first, you might find wearing them overwhelming and tiring. When this happens, take them out again, but try to wear the hearing aids for a little bit longer each day. The longer you can manage to wear them, the better you will get at identifying sounds, focusing on what you’re hearing and interpreting the voices of those around you.
Before you had hearing aids, you may have got into the habit of shouting when speaking. Talking loudly when you’re wearing hearing aids for the first time is a common experience and something you will get used to with practice. With hearing aids, you hear sounds more clearly than you used to, which can make hearing your own voice a new experience.
To practice, read aloud to yourself while wearing your hearing aids. You might feel a bit silly, but this is a great way to help you get in some practice at regulating your volume of speech again, and will be better able to recognize the sounds of speech again.
Pair reading with listening
When you’re reading a book, read along with the same book as an audiobook. When watching television, turn on closed captioning. Reading along as you listen can help your brain to get better at associating words, speech and sounds. This trick can make the adjustment period of wearing hearing aids go by faster.
Ask your family and friends to help
Your friends and family can be a big help to you during the adjustment period of wearing new hearing aids. Ask them to come over and just chat with you. Conversations with your loved ones can give you the chance to practice speaking and listening in a group setting. It’s good practice for your brain to relearn the associations between sounds, words and body language. If you’re struggling to concentrate on the conversation, people who love you will be patient and more willing to help you practice.
Practice with people you know well, as your brain will find it easier to identify and interpret familiar voices. While you have people visiting you, ask them to set the television and the radio to a volume that is comfortable to them. This will give you the chance to listen and get used to listening at a more normal volume. Try not to turn up the television to the levels you needed before your hearing aids, or you could further damage your hearing.
Wearing hearing aids is bound to seem strange at first, but with some practice and time to adjust, you will get used to them and find they can improve your quality of life.
An audiologist can help you to decide if a hearing aid is right for you, and what kind of hearing aid might be right for you. To learn more about The Hearing and Tinnitus Center, call us at 303-534-0163.