On average, Americans wait about seven to ten years from the time they notice changes in their hearing to the time they seek help from a hearing professional. There are many hypothesized reasons for this; however, the fact that hearing loss is most often very gradual typically plays a key role.
Because hearing loss is so gradual, it is difficult for many of us to notice it has happened, and it also gives ample time to become “adjusted” to one’s impaired hearing. Just like the parable about the frog in the hot water, we do not really notice that our hearing has become impaired, and often forget what “normal” hearing feels like.
Because of this and a few other factors, there is also an adjustment period when we treat our hearing loss with new hearing aids. Keep these key factors in mind to make your adjustment to new hearing aids as smooth as possible.
Fitting is an ongoing process
During your first hearing aid fitting, we will work with you to ensure your hearing aid not only fits into and onto your ear comfortably, but also that it is as finely tuned as possible to meet your unique hearing loss. Using the results of your hearing assessment and input from you, we are able to adjust your hearing aids pretty well on that first appointment, however, it is imperative that you understand that fitting hearing aids is an ongoing process. It is important that you keep all of your hearing aid fitting appointments, especially in the beginning, to have the most successful experience.
Allow yourself time
Hearing aids are not eyeglasses. With corrective eye glasses, we typically “see” an improvement immediately, and there is rarely an adjustment period. With hearing aids this is most often not the case. Keeping this in mind can keep you from being disappointed. Do not expect to walk out of your first hearing aid fitting feeling like your hearing has been 100% restored. It will take awhile for you and your ears to become comfortable with the hearing aids, and you must be patient with yourself.
Use your hearing aid as often as you can, but start small
The more you wear your new hearing aids, the quicker you will become accustomed to them. For some people, however, wearing hearing aids all day can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, don’t worry! Try wearing your hearing aids for a few hours a day during quiet times. Slowly increase the amount of time you wear your hearing aids each day by an hour or so, and you will be using your hearing aids all day in no time.
Read aloud to yourself
Some people are surprised by the sound of their own voice when they start wearing hearing aids. This can feel extremely awkward; however, this too shall pass. Reading aloud to yourself is a great way to practice using your hearing aids, and also a great way for you to become comfortable with hearing your voice clearly again, as well as the way that it sounds.
Keep communication with The Hearing Doctor open and honest
We understand that there will be an adjustment period with your hearing aids and that you may be feeling awkward, uncomfortable, or disappointed. These are all normal feelings. It is important to keep us abreast to how you are feeling so we can make the necessary adjustments to your hearing aids. Along these lines, it is also very important that you keep all of your follow-up appointments so we can finely tune your hearing aids to match your specific needs even more perfectly.
Talk with your friends and family
Studies have shown that choosing to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids can have a positive impact on not only the user, but the people closest to them. Chances are, your friends and family are really excited and proud of you that you have chosen to use hearing aids. Help them better understand what you are going through by communicating with them, and expressing yourself during your adjustment period and beyond.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that the awkward adjustment phase happens to almost every hearing aid user, and it by no means indicates that your hearing aids are not working. Give yourself time and patience, and you will be adjusted to the experience of hearing aids before you know it.