Many people don’t even realize it when they start to lose their hearing. They just start to miss more and more of their daily conversations, they ask people to repeat themselves more frequently, and they may start talking a bit louder to make up for their lost hearing.
Until one day a relative or a friend points out – I think you need a hearing aid. When someone gets a hearing aid, there are some things he or she can do to make the transition process easier and more comfortable.
1. Do take baby steps
Hearing aids can be strange and uncomfortable at first. Not only getting used to having access to all of those sounds, but also having something in the ear all the time. Since hearing loss usually develops progressively, the brain actually forgets what it is like to hear everything.
It can be pretty overwhelming for someone to go from hearing very little to hearing everything, and being able to decipher different sounds can be really exhausting at first. It is recommended that new wearers simply do their best.
Wear the hearing aid for a few hours at a time to get used to the feeling, and take it out when it gets to be too much. That said, over time wearers should try to work their way up to wearing the hearing aids for all waking hours.
2. Don’t jump right in
While it may be exciting to get a new hearing aid and go out into the world to find out what it can do, this is not recommended. What is recommended is for the wearer to sit at home in a quiet room on the first day to learn the sounds of his or her most familiar environment. Once the wearer has had some time to become accustomed to that, then they can start to explore new environments.
3. Don’t stress about loud sounds
For the first few days, some things may sound extremely loud and irritating – like planes flying overhead or the ticking of a clock. Basically, the brain is amplifying these sounds because they have been absent for so long. This happens all the time in everyday life – going to someone’s house who lives near an airport, people often notice every plane fly by.
The people who live there probably don’t notice at all anymore. This is what happens for hearing aid wearers. Those noises eventually fade into he background.
4. Do write it down
A great exercise to help new hearing aid wearers is to write down the things they are hearing, and especially noting if any of those sounds are bothersome. When it comes time for a follow-up, the hearing aid specialist can go over the list with the wearer to make sure that what they are hearing is normal. If any of the sounds are abnormal, adjustments can be made to the volume to make the hearing aids more comfortable.
5. Do read aloud
New hearing aid users are often used to shouting to try to hear themselves. A good way to learn to speak at a normal volume again is to read aloud. By doing this, the wearer has an opportunity to get used to what volume is “normal”. It is kind of like practicing to speak properly again.
Another benefit of reading aloud is that it helps the wearer become accustomed to the sounds of words again. It can be hard for new hearing aid users to understand people after receiving their hearing aids, simply because they haven’t had a chance to become re-accustomed to the way words sound.