Nowadays, about 50 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Fortunately, we have hearing aids. It is a safe and effective solution to a hearing problem.
They have already returned many people to a happy life, allowing them to forget about hearing problems forever. But it’s worth considering that hearing aids are complex technological devices and you cannot just come and buy them at some random store. Only an audiologist can correctly select and configure a suitable device, taking into account your characteristics.
There may be some important things to keep in mind in the beginning, so I prepared some important tips for first time hearing aids users. Follow them and your adaptation will be much faster and easier.
Do not panic at loud noises
What does a person hear when using a hearing aid for the first time? Most often, it’s a different number of noises. This happens since the brain is already weaned from external sounds and it needs time to get used to them. Ordinary sounds that other people don’t even notice can be loud for you, for example, the ticking of a clock, the operation of a refrigerator, street sounds, or the sound of water in pipes. Do not worry, very soon you will adapt to new conditions and background sounds will cease to cause you inconvenience.
Increase usage time gradually
For those that are hesitant, you can increase the usage hearing aids gradually. The wear time of the devices does not need to be all day immediately after picking them up. You may feel overwhelmed with all the sounds around you. To avoid this, start small, for example, on the first day, use the device for 2 hours, then for 4 hours and so on. Increase the time you use the devices gradually every day. This gradual increase, allows your brain to get reacquainted with all the sounds and not get overwhelmed.
Practice recognizing the sound source
It’s a very important tip, as it allows the brain to quickly recall all the forgotten signals. Pay attention and identify the sounds of home appliances, gadget notifications, the sounds of an alarm clock, and your phone.
You should properly care for your hearing aids
Hearing aids are indispensable assistants in everyday life that require appropriate care. A dirty device may not function at full strength. Moreover, proper Hearing Aid Cleaning significantly extends the life of you devices. Audiology Island specialists will help you if you do not know how to care for your hearing aids. This is explained in detail by our leading audiologist, Dr. Stella Fulman:
Here at Audiology Island we have everything you need to take care of your hearing aids all year round! Not only do we have all the supplies you will need here in our office, we are always available to troubleshoot any potential problems or answer any questions you may have. We are here because we treasure your hearing!
Home is the best place to start using your devices
External sounds will seem very loud as soon as you start using hearing aids. This introduces additional discomfort, so the best thing is to start using the device in a quiet and relaxing environment. Your home is the best place to start with. After adapting to your home environment, you can gradually add new places, for example, go for a walk in the park or take a walk to the store. At the same time you may use them while with one or two other people. As time goes by, you will become more comfortable using them in busier and more crowded places such as cafes, restaurants and even concerts.
People with hearing loss often mention that their own voice seems louder to them, although keep in mind it will not to others. This is not surprising, so if you want to “stop screaming,” use a simple but effective method, read aloud. This allows your brain to get used to your own voice again. Also, you will quickly learn to recognize spoken and heard words and phrases.
Contact with your relatives and friends more often
Close people give excellent psychological help. A charge of positive emotions helps to cope with all difficulties, including getting used to hearing aids. Communicate with your loved ones as much as possible, if you have just started using these devices. Familiar speech allows you to quickly build associations between sounds and words.
Family members can adjust the sound of their favorite devices optimally, for example, the volume of the TV or music. You do not have to worry and find out what volume is normal and suitable for those with normal hearing person. This greatly speeds up adaptation to devices.
Record important points in a diary
This is another simple but effective method. Get yourself a special diary, and make notes about the things you like and do not like about the hearing devices. You may notice that over time, the things that bothered you initially, will not be a problem. The more specific you are, the better your audiologist can help you in adjusting the devices at your next follow up visit, Keep track of things that are positive as well, this is a great motivation to know what you made such an important decision to hearing better in the first place.
Pair listening and reading
This is another simple but very effective tip. Try to combine reading and listening. You can listen to music or watch TV with subtitles. How does this help? Your brain will build associations between forgotten sounds and words and quickly adapt to new conditions.
Use additional features
Modern hearing aids have additional features that make life much easier. Particular attention should be paid to a wireless connection option. For example, by connecting a smartphone to your hearing aid, you can get audio information right into your device. This greatly improves the quality and comfort of your daily life.
Do not change the volume too often
With advances in technology, hearing aids no longer need to be adjusted for volume. Your audiologist will set up the initial setting. Most likely, it will not be at your full prescription, as your brain needs time to get used to the sound. Just like you did not adjust volume for your ears when you had normal hearing, hearing aids now do many adjustments automatically.
Remember, you should gradually get used to the new conditions. More precise adjustment of the device can be carried out after two weeks at your follow up visit
Hearing aids are indispensable assistants. They allow us to hear our family, friends and everything else in our world. However, as in the case with any medical device, it is necessary to seriously approach their use. I am sure that our tips and tricks will help you ease into using these great devices and improve your quality of life.
Our hearing care professionals are always ready to help! Enjoy the birds singing or the sound of rain, live a happy life!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]