So, you’ve purchased your first hearing aid. Congratulations! You’ve made the first move towards an improved quality of life and hearing a world of sounds.
Life with hearing aids will take a little adjustment, but just how much adjustment will be different for everyone. Continue reading for a better understanding of what to expect while you’re getting used to your new hearing aid.
It might have been some time since you were able to fully hear all the sounds around you. You’ll find that you start to rediscover sounds that you may not have heard for a long time. At first, many sounds will seem louder than they were before, from the tapping of keys on your laptop to the sound of your own footsteps. This is perfectly normal and is not because the volume has been set too loud. It is because your brain has automatically adjusted to a lower volume and now needs to readjust to its original level.
Initially, you’ll find yourself paying much more attention to your surroundings than usual, but your brain will eventually adjust to these new sounds. It’s a bit like moving close to a train line. In the beginning, you notice every single train passing by, but after a short while, your brain realises that these sounds are unimportant, and filters them out.
Start off gently
Ease into your hearing aid by first using them in quiet situations and for one-on-one conversations at home. Listen to the radio or TV, and start by listening to commentators, as they tend to speak more clearly. Then proceed to other programmes. Once you’re ready, try your hearing aids in noisier environments, such as near a busy road and at your local supermarket.
Wear your hearing aids as often as possible
Wearing your hearing aids regularly will help retrain your brain more quickly and successfully, so that you get used to hearing all the sounds you’ve been missing. You should be wearing your hearing aids for all waking hours once you’ve adjusted to them, except when showering, bathing or swimming.
When you’re out and about
The first time you go to a restaurant or other places with many people, you might find it challenging. But this gets easier with time, and a little preparation. If you’re going to the cinema or theatre, call in advance to check whether they provide teleloop systems or other assistive devices that can be connected to your hearing aids. When eating out, ask for a table in a quiet area, away from the busy entrance and noisy kitchen. Sitting with your back to the noise also helps. If you’re attending a seminar or conference, try to arrive early and get a seat at the front. Don’t hesitate to ask the presenter to use a microphone.
Taking care of your hearing aids
For your hearing aids to continue to be effective, reliable, and durable, they shouldn’t be exposed to any humidity, heat, chemicals or knocks. To keep them in good condition follow these guidelines:
- Clean your hearing aids every day and remove any wax.
- Never use household cleaning fluids or water.
- Use a dry cloth and brush. You can also ask your hearing care professional about drying kits or other tools for cleaning and drying.
Follow up care
You should expect to visit your audiologist for a follow-up appointment to fine-tune your hearing aids. This is so your hearing aids can be adjusted to your communication needs and lifestyle. This is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions or tell your audiologist about any issues you may have had since your last visit. We recommend that you bring a relative or friend to this meeting. They can provide valuable information about your hearing as seen from their perspective.
Points to note
Your hearing aids should feel comfortable. You’ll be aware that they’re there, but there shouldn’t be any pain, discomfort, skin rashes or bleeding. While you’ll be able to hear softer sounds again, loud noises shouldn’t be uncomfortably loud. If you do experience any of these reactions, remove the hearing aids and make an appointment with your audiologist for an adjustment.
Good luck adjusting to your new hearing aids. Remember, make sure you visit your audiologist should you have any questions or concerns.