8 Tips To Help You Get Used To Your New Hearing Aids
Getting your new hearing aids is an exciting time. But it can also be a little daunting. Your ears (and brain) have not been utilised to their fullest extent for a period of time and it will take time to get used to hearing all the sounds again. In fact, you probably haven’t realised a lot of the sounds you’ve been missing out on. It’s now time to hear the birds, the turn of a newspapers, and the busy foot traffic outside again!
Your Audiologist or Audiometrist will go through a variety of management procedures for your hearing aids and set you a listening program for the next few days and weeks. However the first hours and days of augmented hearing can be surprising or unsettling for some. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for your ‘new ears’ – getting hearing aids is not like putting on a new pair of glasses.
There is often a significant adjustment period and the initial 24 hours can be paramount to accepting your hearing aids. Listen to the guidance of your clinician, but also follow the tips below to help you go from a new hearing aid user to a ‘hearing hero’ successfully.
Tip #1 Practice putting in your hearing aid.
Do this a few times in your fitting appointment and again when you get home. There’s a lot to take in at the fitting appointment - if you take away nothing else, know how to insert your hearing aid and feel confident putting it in your ear. Practice at home on your own, maybe in front of mirror (this doesn’t work for everyone).
Then practice putting it on in different situations and with the opposite hand. You want to be so good at putting in your hearing aid, you could do it in your sleep.
Tip #2 Wear your hearing aid.
Wear them consistently throughout the day. This is a vital factor in getting used to your hearing aid! Your aim should be to wear your hearing aid all day, from the moment you wake up, until you go to bed at night (remembering to take it off for showering and swimming).
If you aren’t wearing it, you can’t stimulate your brain with all those long-missed sounds. When you have your hearing aids in you are building brain muscle and auditory memory.
Tip #3 Getting used to transport sounds.
Does your car really sound like it needs a tune up? With your new hearing aids it just might. When you start hearing all those long-missed sounds again, you will be surprised at many things. In your car you might’ve missed the sound of windscreen wipers, the tick of the indicator or even the ‘beep’ indicating you’ve locked the car. And if you catch public transport the traffic sounds associated with this can be quite disconcerting at first.
You may want to turn your hearing aids off when you first wear them home to cope with all the traffic noise, but even just reducing the volume or changing to a ‘noise program’ (if your clinician has set you one) will help you adjust to these everyday sounds.
Tip #4 Take a bite!
When you first eat with your hearing aids on you may be surprised at how loud you chew – you probably don’t make a lot of noise, but eating can sound unusual with hearing aids in. This is because you may be hearing these sounds through what is called ‘bone conduction’ (an occlusion effect from having something in your ears).
You should get used to this very quickly, however if it is bothersome for you, tell your clinician so they can make some adjustments to your hearing aid to combat this issue.
Tip #5 Weather it all.
You may notice how loud the rain sounds on your roof or hear some bothersome wind noise across your hearing aid microphones when you’re outside.
Most hearing aids have technology to reduce wind noise but if you are finding this sound irritating, then you need to tell your clinician so they can make some adjustments for you.
Tip #6 Home sweet home.
Walking around your house with your hearing aids on will be an enlightening experience. And don’t think that once you’re at home you should take them off. This is the best place to get used to your devices as you have some control over the noises you hear. It’s common practice for new hearing aid users to comment on how loud the toilet flushes or the annoying clatter of the cutlery. But you might also notice the fridge motor or the sound of the air conditioner. And when you turn the television on you will understand why your partner is complaining that the volume is too loud! With your hearing aids on you should be able to hear all your favourite shows at a more normal level.
If you’re still having problems with the TV once you’ve tried it with your hearing aids, tell your clinician to look at other options for improved television listening. However if your partner now complains you have the TV volume set too soft – it might be time for them to have their hearing tested!
Tip #7 Time to power down.
The first hours and days of your new hearing can be tiring. Getting used to your devices – how to use them, put them in, clean them and then all the new sounds you are hearing – can be exhausting. When it’s time to say goodnight, you need to remember to power down your hearing aids. If you have models that use a rechargeable batteries, put them on the charger as you are going to bed – just as you do with your mobile phone.
For devices that use disposable batteries, open the battery door to turn the hearing aid off. You may have a ‘dry aid’ kit. If you do, put your hearing aids in so all the moisture can be removed.
Tip #8 It’s a new hearing day.
Make putting in your hearing aids part of your daily routine. Once you are up and ready for the day, ensure your devices are in so you can hear that phone ring, the knock at the door and the birds in the garden. Getting used to your hearing aids in an environment with less background noise will not only give you confidence but give your brain a chance to interpret all the new sounds it’s hearing, in a gradual process.
The more you wear your hearing aids the quicker you’ll become adept in all environments. Sound doesn’t stop, just because you have your hearing aids off. If you consistently wearing your devices, you’ll go from zero to hearing hero in no time and enjoy being connected to the world of sound again.