A new hearing aid can be an exciting and overwhelming responsibility that opens you up to a new world of communication. As you prepare to get your first hearing aid you might be wondering what it feels like to wear a hearing aid. Everyone’s experience will be unique but there are a few things that can be kept in mind to help you prepare.
Size and type matters
As you now know, hearing aids come in different shapes, sizes, and types depending on the severity of hearing loss. The most basic and standard kind of hearing aid is referred to as the Behind-The-Ear (BTE) because it fits snuggly behind the ear and all the components are easily noticeable. The second type, the In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aid, is custom-made to fit completely in the outer ear and is the most commonly requested device. The third and fourth types are the In-The-Canal (ITC) and the Completely-In-Canal (CIC) devices. These hearing aids are the newest aids that are nearly hidden in the ear canal. Each hearing aid will feel different to different people, depending on the size and type of hearing aid and how it fits into the ear. Hearing devices usually consist of an earmold or specific tubing component that needs to sit firmly in the ear, to allow for complete functionality. The way it is made will play a role in how the hearing aid feels when it is worn. In the beginning, the first few times the hearing aid is worn, it may be very uncomfortable and feel odd to have something placed inside the ear. This feeling eventually changes over time, as you adjust, with consistent hearing aid use.
How you wear it matters
How you wear your hearing aid plays an essential part in how it feels. The feeling of comfort will only come from regularly practicing how to appropriately place it in the ear. The more uncomfortable it sits in the ear, the more strange it will feel to wear it. So be sure to put in some magic in your method, and continue to fit it, reposition it if you must until you get to the point where it feels comfortable and you have almost forgotten that it is there.
The “new normal” of everyday sounds
Experiencing hearing loss simply means that you are no longer exposed to sounds that you previously were; they have become softer which has altered your overall listening experience. The ultimate goal of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds according to your existing hearing loss; wearing a hearing aid will then feel like stepping into a new world of sounds. These sounds may not be the same as what you are used to because of the mechanics of the hearing aid. The device provides amplification, but the way certain things sound may be altered and may come across as “unnatural” at first. With more use, your ears will adapt to the “new normal” of sounds.
A hearing aid is not the ultimate “cure”
The strange feeling that comes with wearing your hearing aid for the first time is entirely normal. Your ears may feel different because you are always aware of the steady presence of the earmold or tubing attached to your hearing device. Your hearing aid is a great tool to help improve communication with your loved ones as well as connect you to the world you live in. Unfortunately, technological devices cannot function as well as the human ear. Remember that your hearing device is not the perfect solution or the ultimate cure to your hearing issues. It is possible to have some difficulty comprehending certain speech sounds in conversation or to become overwhelmed with background noise.
As a Lexie hearing aid user, you need to ensure that you are wearing your hearing aids consistently to improve the level of comfort and confidence you have in wearing them.
Tips to help you adjust to wearing your hearing aids:
- Be patient with your hearing aid journey – just like with new eyeglasses, your ears need time to adjust and get used to the feeling of your Lexie hearing aids.
- Set reasonable expectations and goals – your Lexie hearing aid is there to provide amplification, but it will not always be perfect. Be realistic about what you expect your hearing device to assist with and how this can be achieved. Ask the Lexie hearing expert questions about anything you do not understand.
- Test out different listening environments – different social environments require specific listening demands (i.e. TV room, dining room, park, restaurant, dance studio). Being in environments specific to your lifestyle will help you understand how your Lexie hearing aid works and how you can use its features to suit your listening needs. It will also help you practice talking to people in groups.
- Eat and read aloud with your hearing aid on so that you can adjust to new sounds, especially the sound of your own voice.
- Try some listening exercises – these will teach you how to identify sound direction. Test yourself and see if you can tell the difference between types of sounds.
- When using the phone, place it over the hearing aid’s microphone
- Learn to create a balance and work your way up. Do not wear it all day, every day.