Once you have chosen your hearing aids and had them properly fitted, you will gradually get used to wearing them every day. However, like anything new, you should expect it to take a little while before you are completely familiar with your hearing aids and used to being part of the hearing world again. Here are a few pointers to make the adjustment period more seamless:
1. Manage Expectations
Go in with the right expectations — you cannot compare hearing aids with something like glasses. When you use glasses for the first time it is a quick adjustment period and you see the difference right away. With hearing aids you need to get used to hearing differently — your brain is gradually working to reduce the ways in which it had been compensating for hearing loss. If you expect an adjustment period you will have a much easier time.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
This step is simple — practice using hearing aids. Your brain needs time to adjust so it is a good idea to practice being a successful hearing aid user. Begin using your hearing aids first thing in the morning and wear them for as long as you can until you can wear them all day long. Avoid taking them out, even if you think you don’t need them such as when you are home alone. Deliberately expose yourself to various hearing situations in order to observe what needs work.
3. Rest If Needed
All at once, you are going to be exposed to a world of sound you forgot existed, such as the thumping of the compressor on the refrigerator, the whine of an electric can opener, the blare of the street noises in a city, the chaotic noises in your favorite restaurant, and the screeching coming from your grandchildren’s stereo. All the new sounds and communications may leave you exhausted, but don’t forget that it is all a part of the process! If you need to take out your new hearing aids for a period of time give yourself a rest.
4. Talk To Your Hearing Health Provider
Pay close attention to the volume and quality of sound in different environments and tell your hearing care professional about your experiences at your follow-up appointment. It may even be beneficial to keep a journal in which you write down your positive and negative reactions — it could help your hearing health provider make adjustments as needed for your preference and lifestyle.
5. Give Yourself Some Grace
The adjustment period may take time — remember not to be too hard on yourself! Although initially you might find it difficult to get used to wearing and hearing with these devices, be patient. You will quickly come to appreciate the advantages and greater quality of life they provide!
6. It’s Not Just Hearing, It’s Listening
After a few weeks the sound you are receiving through your hearing aids should be sounding “natural,” even though not all speech signals are understood. Remember, while “hearing” is occurring whether or not you are paying attention, “listening” takes effort. It is not just the ears that are involved in active listening, but the mind as well. Keep working at it and it will get easier over time!