Unlike glasses, it takes time to get used to hearing aids. They won’t work perfectly the minute you put them on.
What should I expect?
Whilst hearing aids will allow you to hear speech better, you may feel overwhelmed by some sounds that you may not have heard for a long time. These might be traffic, mechanical noises from air-conditioning systems and computers, the rustle of your hair and clothing, or even your own voice. Sounds may also register as unnatural and strange at first, with certain sounds even being bothersome.
The reason for this is that over the time that you lost your hearing, the area of your brain responsible for processing sound did not receive sufficient stimulation. Without sufficient stimulation for a long period of time, the brain begins to rewire itself and uses this area for other tasks. Once you start wearing hearing aids, your brain needs to rewire itself once more to accommodate all the additional sounds that you are hearing again. It needs to relearn which sounds to focus on and which sounds to filter through.
What can I do to get used to my hearing aids?
The most important thing to remember is to be patient. Be assured that with more time and experience, your brain will adjust and process wanted sounds more easily and minimize unwanted background noise. Over time, you will become so accustomed to your hearing aids that you may even forget that you are wearing them. Please note, hearing aids should not hurt your ears, they should be comfortable from the beginning.
9 Tips for getting used to hearing aids
We want the transition to wearing hearing aids to be as easy as possible. That’s why we’ve identified 9 things that you can do when you first start wearing your them.
- Wear your hearing aids in comfortable environments – At first, it can be overwhelming to wear them in places with a lot of background noise. It is advisable to wear your hearing aids in a known, calm, and controlled environment, such as your home to begin with. That way you can identify and listen to several known sounds that you may not have heard for a while, such as a kettle boiling or the ticking of a clock.
- Sign up for Lexie Rewards – Lexie Rewards will guide and support you through the first 45 days with your new hearing aids. The program will help you every step of the way, to make the hearing aid adjustment period as short and easy as possible. You’ll also earn points towards future purchases when you wear your hearing aids, perform everyday tasks, and provide feedback.
- Gradually increase the length of time that you wear your hearing aid – Although it is recommended to wear your hearing aids during all waking hours, it is okay to start by wearing them for just a few hours a day and then slowly increase the length of time. Particularly if you become fatigued. Re-training your brain to process sounds that you had been missing out on does require energy, so it’s normal to feel strained and tired in the beginning.
- Be consistent! – Your hearing aids should be worn every day. Don’t use them for only certain occasions or social events, or your brain won’t receive sufficient stimulation to adapt. In turn, you won’t benefit from your Lexie hearing aids the way that you should.
- Adjust to the sound of your own voice – One of the most common complaints from first time hearing aid users is that their voice sounds strange. Get used to the sound of your own voice by reading loudly to yourself from time-to-time. That way you will feel more comfortable engaging in conversation with friends and family. At Lexie Hearing, our friendly hearing experts can also adjust your hearing aids to make the sound of your own voice more comfortable, if needed. But, you will need to expect a period of adjustment.
- Practice in different environments – Once you have practiced wearing your hearing aids at home, attempt to wear them in busier environments. An example would be a trip to the grocery store or a busy restaurant. It may feel challenging with all the background noise at first but soon enough you won’t want to leave your house without your hearing aids.
- Use active communication strategies (see below) – Use active communication strategies together with your hearing aids and get the most out of your conversations with family and friends.
- Keep a notebook of your experiences – Reference these notes when you speak to one of our hearing experts. Write down your positive experiences as well as those situations that you have found challenging. That way, the hearing expert has the necessary information to make adjustments to the settings of your hearing aid, so that you have a more comfortable listening experience.
- Practice makes perfect – Engage in some aural rehabilitation activities to when adjusting to your new hearing aids. These listening activities will help you better understand speech and conversation. There are useful free online training resources listed below:
- The Listening Room sponsored by Advanced Bionics
- Angel Sound developed by Tiger Speech Technology and distributed by Emily Shannon Fu Foundation
- Audio Concentration/Matching Game
What are some active communication strategies?
- When you communicate with others you rely on your hearing and vision. Look at the speaker’s face and make sure it is well lit.
- Communicate with someone when they are in the same room as you.
- Reduce unnecessary background noise, such as the television or radio, when possible, especially if they don’t need to be on.
- Don’t be shy to let others know how they can help when needed.