Wearing Hearing Aids For The First Time

Although very tiny, hearing aids can be life-changing devices for those who can benefit from them. Deciding on getting a hearing aid is an important step in improving everyday activities and tasks as well as communication and independence. Sometimes it is difficult to admit a hearing problem and many people delay or deny the issue not realising that they could significantly benefit if they seek and receive help for their condition.

Some of the fears connected to hearing aids stem from the perception that the devices are too visible and will indicate disability to other people. However, modern hearing aids are so varied in type, design, colour and style that some of them are virtually invisible and only the wearer will know that they are there.

Choosing the first hearing aid may be a challenging process as there are so many options and finding the right one may take time, but with professional help and patience, the final result will definitely be worth it. Regardless of the hearing aid - behind the ear, in the ear, in the canal, completely in the canal, baha or cochlear implant, it will become an indispensable companion and help in various situations such as hearing and talking on the phone, watching TV or simply socialising at a family gathering or with friends.

Once you have chosen the hearing aid that best suits your particular condition, you should prepare yourself for a period of adaptation and getting to know your device.

Unlike putting on glasses and having clear vision immediately, hearing aids do not provide instant perfect hearing. Permanent hearing loss most likely indicates damaged hair cells in the inner ear that cannot be restored. Hearing aids cannot completely imitate natural hearing or cure hearing impairment, but they amplify sounds and help you hear better with residual hearing.

To experience the complete benefits of your hearing aid though, you need to give it a sufficient amount of time and try to avoid frustration if you do not feel the effect of it right away. Below are some tips for first time wearers of hearing aids to guide them through the process and explain the best way of getting used to the device and the new environment full of unknown and forgotten sounds:

  1. Be patient and do not expect instant results, your brain needs time to adapt and process the new sounds you hear. Adjustment periods may last from a few weeks to a few months, as everyone's condition is different.
  2. Wear the hearing aid for a few hours the first few days and avoid noisy places. Try wearing at it home and do not engage in conversations with many people at once. Slowly increase the time you wear the hearing aid every day and try different environments only when you feel ready and more confident.
  3. Some sounds may seem strange or different than you remember, e.g. even your own voice. With time, you will get used to them.
  4. You may experience feedback, wind or background noise. Even the most expensive hearing aids, unfortunately, cannot achieve full elimination of those. Over time, you will learn to pay less attention to such sounds. You can turn to your audiologist for assistance and advice or for readjusting the settings of the hearing aid if possible in cases where the problem persists.
  5. Take care of the hearing aid and keep it away from moisture, heat or dirt. It is a delicate device, which needs care and proper storage in order to perform well.

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