Are you considering hearing aids? Perhaps it’s become increasingly difficult to hear and you just can’t wait to improve your ability to follow conversations as well as be more alert out and about in the world. When you get a new pair of properly prescribed eyeglasses the change is immediate. However, hearing aids don’t work quite like that. Many people are surprised to learn that it can take some time to get used to hearing aids, particularly if you’ve never worn them before.
Hearing with Your Brain
Hearing loss often sneaks up on people, starting subtly years before you can identify the issue and gradually becoming worse. Over this time, you may have normalized the loss of certain tones and pitches to the brain. Your brain has had to work harder to follow conversation with missing pieces of sound, but you often may not realize that is what is happening. Instead, you may experience socializing becoming more frustrating or tiring than before. Activities you may have loved with friends and family may become sources of stress instead, as you find yourself opting out of social situations and self-isolating.
When you first put on a new pair of hearing aids you may be introduced to sounds your brain has not had to process for years and these old sounds may seem shocking!
Even the Sound of Your Own Voice May Sound Jarring
For some people, the biggest change is the sound of their own voice as it may sound louder now that you have the amplification you need to truly hear sounds you’ve been missing for almost a decade at times or more. Sounds such a chewing may sound like a racket as your brain attempts to renormalize these sounds. Years of auditory deprivation to the brain can take a while to recalibrate on a cognitive level so give it time. The longer you wear your hearing aids with dedication, the better it will get. In fact, in no time at all, most people report not being able to imagine living without them! We have compiled some important tips to make it easier to get used to hearing aids:
Wear them at home first: The world can become overwhelming out of the blue. Get used to using your hearing aids at home first where you can control the sounds in your environment a bit more at first. Start with just an hour or two at home and slowly build up over two weeks. At this point you should be ready to wear your hearing aids all day, from the moment you wake till it’s time to rest.
Give yourself homework: While at home, focus on having one-on-one conversations. Reading aloud or talking to your pet can also help you get used to your own voice, too. For added awareness, practice wearing your hearing aids and locating sounds in your home, such as dishwashers or traffic out the window. The localization of sound can be confusing and tricky at first but with practice you’ll be ready for any sounds that come your way when you’re ready to venture out into the world with enhanced hearing.
Attend follow-up visits: We generally program your hearing aids so you can hear the world around you based on your hearing exam. However, we don’t always get it 100 percent right the first time. It may take some adjustments to the fit and the programming to get the ultimate hearing enhancement experience of your dreams. We are here to listen and help you find the best possible solution. Be sure to schedule and attend follow up visits till we all get the best result! Most people visit their audiologist about two weeks after their first fitting to get their devices fine-tuned.
Don’t give up: Like we’ve said, it can take time to get used to your new hearing aids. It can feel overwhelming to hear sounds you haven’t heard for years. Background noise can be especially overwhelming as your brain relearns to prioritize the sounds you need to hear from the distracting sounds of construction, traffic, neighbor’s music and just about anything else in our noisy world. The good news is that with patience and focus you can get the results you crave. You’ll be able to connect to loved ones, co-workers, and friends again with ease and find yourself venturing out more. To find out more, contact us today for your next hearing exam!