Finding out that you need to wear hearing aids can be a daunting prospect. Not only is there the social stigma to overcome but it's easy to imagine hearing aids being similar to a pair of glasses, inconvenient at times, but restoring your hearing perfectly. Unfortunately this is not the case, even with top of the range hearing aids. But don't despair, some basic knowledge will equip you to get used to hearing aids quicker. Read on for more details.
A hearing aid is just that, an aid - a way of enabling you to access the listening world the high tech way. By carefully selecting a hearing aid that's chosen based upon your lifestyle and needs as well as your specific hearing loss, you can regain a high level of hearing ability.
Getting used to Hearing Aids
Hearing Loss is individual
Hearing loss is different for everyone, as such try not to compare your ability to hear with others. This is your journey with a destination determined by your very unique lifestyle choices and expectations.
Adapting takes time
Take your time, there is no sudden fix, no instantaneous cure. You're not just relying on great amplification in order to access the hearing world. Your brain has become used to a lower level of sound and will take time to adapt to the sounds that will suddenly bombard it from all directions. For example, the chopping sound of a knife on a wooden board can seem overwhelming at first. Retraining your brain to identify and separate sound can take weeks and months to perfect. Everyone is different, and adaptation depends upon your level of hearing loss, how suddenly this loss occurred and how quickly your brain adapts to the new sounds. Be patient and work things through, it will all be worth it in the end. Loud can be surprising. The startling thing about wearing a hearing device is that it intensifies all sound generated around you significantly. When trying a hearing aid for the first time, having suffered hearing loss, the sudden rush of sound from all angles can be overwhelming. Digital hearing aids should be pre-programmed to ensure the sound levels you receive are both safe and processed at an appropriate volume. Even so, you still have to get used to receiving or ignoring certain background noise, just as your brain would naturally do.
The Right Fit is important
There's nothing like the right fit. Inserting your hearing aid correctly takes a bit of practice and is often tricky to do for the first time. Once the technique is mastered, you won't look back. If you continue to feel discomfort or the sound quality is compromised, it may be worth getting a doctor or nurse to take a look at your ear canal and make sure it's not blocked with excess wax.
Hearing aids can make your ear feel itchy at first which can be helped by proper cleaning each night, for example using a spray for the ear such as the Earol Olive Oil Spray. At no point should you feel pain. If this occurs, you need to seek further advice. Wearing something in or behind your ear for protracted periods of time can be a weird sensation at first. Rest assured with time, you'd get used to wearing one, just as people adjust to wearing glasses.
Avoid noisy situations at first
Your body will need time to adjust to all the extra amplification. Day by day, you can increase your usage until it's at a level that you are comfortable with. It's best to use it in quieter places initially. Throwing yourself into a noisy party or clamorous restaurant on day one may only serve to give you a headache.
"Pardon, what did you say?"
Such sentences may be less frequent thanks to the use of a hearing aid. But you will still say it if you're in a noisy environment. Even with the best directional technology in your hearing aids, it may be difficult to hear as well as you used to.
Rediscovering your voice
Discover a new you - or rather a new voice. That initial surprise when you speak for the first time with amplification is a common experience for many first time wearers. You'll get used to it.
Helping yourself to hear better
Give your hearing an added boost by being aware of your listening environment:
- Turn your back on interfering background noise where possible. In a restaurant for example, sitting with your back to the wall will help prevent the experience of being able to hear the conversation from the table behind better than the one in front of you.
- Try and concentrate on one conversation at a time.
- Position yourself closer to the person you are talking to so that you can see their facial expressions easily. This way, you can read their lips and use their body language to reinforce what you're hearing.
Remember a conversation doesn't have to be word perfect.
Removing it can be a strange experience
Taking off your hearing aid may cause sound to feel leaden. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal and just serves to prove that you've been hearing better with a little bit of help from your aid.
About Hearing Direct
We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, and information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:
- Hearing aids,
- Accessories such as earplugs,
- and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.
Author: Joan McKechnie
After qualifying as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Joan has spent most of her 20 year career in hearing-care related roles. She has a wealth of experience within the hearing aid and hearing rehabilitation fields and has worked in manufacturing environments with two hearing aid companies helping to develop products and roll out new technologies. Joan has been involved with Hearing Direct since its launch and enjoys the online retail environment which seeks to provide easier access to hearing products and accessories. She is HCPC registered. Read Joan's full bio here.