The first time you put on a hearing aid, you will feel like there’s a new language you must learn to speak. You might not hear sounds the same way or at all. It takes time to get used to them, and even so, it is likely you’ll still experience some discomfort and possibly even some of the following challenges: Feeling self-conscious, experiencing discomfort with long-term wear at first, having difficulty in adjusting to sound quality differences, difficulty hearing on the phone, keeping them clean, and learning how / when to adjust your hearing aids properly.
Continue reading this article to know how to maneuver the common side effects of wearing a hearing aid for the first time and several actionable tips you may take to alleviate any issues as you adjust to the hearing aids.
The first time you wear a hearing aid, you may feel self-conscious. But don’t worry. Over time, you’ll become accustomed to using your hearing aid and get used to how it looks and feels. If you start to feel uncomfortable about wearing your hearing aid, talk with your audiologist about what’s bothering you. They can help put your mind at ease by explaining how others have felt in similar situations. That and offer tips for making adjustments that make it easier to feel more confident about wearing your hearing aid.
If you still have trouble adjusting after talking with your audiologist, consider talking with family members or friends who have worn hearing aids before. They can offer a firsthand account of how they dealt with any challenges they faced when starting out and advise on ways they overcame those challenges.
2. Sound Quality Differences
When wearing a hearing aid for the first time, you might have difficulty in adjusting to sound quality differences. The sounds of your own voice and other people’s voices may seem different. Hearing aids aren’t perfect and can sometimes make certain types of sounds louder than others. For example, it is common for people to hear their own footsteps differently when wearing a hearing aid. This can be frustrating at first, but you will learn how to adjust over time.
3. Difficulty On The Phone
When wearing a hearing aid for the first time, you might have difficulty hearing on the phone. People’s voices will sound different and may even seem distorted. You’ll also notice that background noise is amplified, which can be tiring if you’re having a conversation in a noisy place. The earmold must be adjusted until it fits perfectly in your ear canal, so this should improve with time. In addition, there’s a period of adjustment when you first start wearing your hearing aid that can last up to one week or longer.
During this time, you may feel more fatigued than normal due to your brain putting in effort to relearn how to process sounds correctly and how to convert them into meaningful information.
When you begin wearing a hearing aid for the first time, you’ll likely discover that looking after your hearing aids is not fun. But just as all good things in life come at a cost, so does better hearing. Yes, keeping up with maintaining and cleaning your hearing aids will add a little routine to your daily life, but it’s not so bad once you get used to it.
6. Proper Adjustments
When wearing a hearing aid for the first time, you might not know how and when to adjust your hearing aids properly. It’s important to keep in mind that every person’s ears are different, so there isn’t one ideal adjustment that works for everyone. The most important thing is to find an adjustment that works for you personally. To do this, ask your audiologist or hearing care professional for advice on how to adjust the volume control on your device so that it fits your lifestyle and needs.
You might need additional adjustments after wearing your device for several days or weeks because some sounds will feel louder than others and may even seem overwhelming at first. It takes time for the brain’s auditory system to adjust to new sounds and frequencies, so don’t be surprised if things start sounding strange at first! In most cases, these.
10 Tips To Keep In Mind:
When wearing a hearing aid for the first time, these tips might help.
- Get used to the sound of your own voice. When you wear hearing aids for the first time, it’s common to hear yourself talk differently than normal. This happens because you’re now getting amplification from both ears — and your voice sounds different when you hear it through two channels instead of one. It usually takes just a few days for your brain and ears to adjust, but if this bothers you, try talking softly until it passes.
- Wear the device all day long. Wear your hearing aids as much as possible. A lot of people stop wearing them after a few days because they don’t notice an immediate improvement in their hearing. But it takes time for the brain to adjust to the new sounds it’s receiving, so stick with it!
- Get used to wearing your hearing aid around the house before going out in public so that you won’t be tempted to remove it when you’re uncomfortable or distracted by something else.
- It’s important to get used to different sounds in your environment, so try to locate the sources of all the different sounds you hear. You should also listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or talk radio while you’re home alone. This will help you learn how to use your ears more effectively and will make it easier for you to know what’s going on around you when you’re out in public.
- During the hearing aid adjustment process, reach out for the help of family and friends. This can give you more chances to practice speaking comfortably in group settings. This helps your brain recreate the proper associations between sounds, words, and nonverbal body language.
- Read aloud to yourself. Many people with hearing loss are told to “stop shouting”. It’s understandable to accidentally start speaking inappropriately loud once you’ve experienced hearing loss. But with hearing aids, you can begin to, once more, properly mind and modulate your own volume. An excellent way to get back into the practice of this sort of self-regulation is by reading aloud to yourself when wearing your hearing aids.
It’s also quite beneficial to read along with a matching audiobook or to use a dedicated auditory rehabilitation app. Combining reading with listening not only helps you relearn the right volume for speech but also helps your brain get further refamiliarized with the proper association of sounds, words, and speech.
- Make phone calls using speakerphone or Bluetooth connectivity when available. In some cases, you can use Bluetooth to link your phone directly to your hearing aids. This helps guarantee that your calls remain private and gives you access to the most direct sound available. But if your hearing aids aren’t Bluetooth enabled, you can instead take phone calls using speaker phone — this way, you can maximize the amount of sound you hear by using both of your ears, and you don’t have to worry about awkward placement of the phone over your hearing aid.
- Don’t expect miracles. Your brain may need to relearn how to hear certain words and sounds. The more often you wear your hearing aids, the faster that process will be — but there’s no way around it. It’s best not to expect too much too soon and let yourself get frustrated when things don’t happen overnight.
- Take breaks from your device if necessary. If you’re finding that wearing your hearing aid is overwhelming or uncomfortable, take a break from wearing it for a few hours and go back to just listening through your normal senses alone for a while before putting on the device again later in the day or evening.
- Keep a journal. Write down any noises that discomfort or annoy you. If a clock’s ticking seems distractingly loud and starts to irritate you, note that down. If you continue to struggle hearing conversations in crowded environments, write that down as well. Evaluate these noted noises each week or even every couple of days. By keeping notes, you can track whether your brain is actually adjusting and discuss any potential issues or seeming lack of progress with a hearing specialist.
Remember, however, that relearning to hear takes time. You’re going to experience sounds differently through hearing aids than you may remember experiencing them before hearing loss. That’s okay! Celebrate the improvements to your hearing while being aware that it may take some time before your brain adjusts to everything being louder than normal again.”
Wearing A Hearing Aid For The First Time Takeaway
Wearing a hearing aid can be a much more positive experience than you might think. As a user, your ears might take some time to adjust to the new sounds coming in, but that’s part of the learning process. And in the end, once your brain acclimates to the devices, you should be able to hear sounds more clearly and easily than ever before. Give it some time, and you’ll appreciate what a big difference this can make!
In addition to being the Founder and Editor-in Chief at HearingPeople.com, Luis Zuluaga is the founder and CEO of Florida Hearing Institute, an innovative hearing health enterprise in South Florida, focused on bringing high-tech hearing devices at affordable prices to people with hearing loss. Before his latest hearing healthcare endeavors, Luis served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Zounds Hearing Inc., a US-based hearing aid manufacturer that introduced many technical innovations to the hearing aid market.