There are many people who experience hearing loss, though not everyone may require the assistance of hearing aids. Commonly associated with aging individuals, assistive hearing devices are also necessary for those who may have experienced illness or trauma with the auditory system. Although these devices aren’t able to restore hearing, they are able to compensate for the loss of hearing with certain sounds or in certain environments. New hearing aids can restore speech and hearing comprehension, though it does take a few days for a user to acclimate to the capabilities of the device.
How Hearing Aids Work
Listening devices can be prescribed by either a family physician or an audiologist, and regardless of which type of hearing device is chosen, they all share a few basic components. Powered by a rechargeable battery or a traditional hearing aid battery, these tiny devices collect sounds from the environment and transmit them to an individual according to the hearing needs. A small microphone captures the sound, while a small computer chip uses an amplifier to analyze and convert the sound into a digital code. This code is created depending on the level of the original sound, the listening needs, and the severity of hearing loss. After this step is complete, the signals are converted back into sound waves and into the ear through a speaker.
How To Adjust to Hearing Aids
As exciting as it may be to finally be able to hear things crystal clear again, it often takes a little while for new hearing aid wearers to adjust to the new sensation. It is important for new wearers to be completely comfortable and satisfied with their new devices, and the first few days of use often reveal if the device delivers the right results.
Here a few hearing aid tips that can help your first few days of transition be more comfortable and successful.
- Be prepared for awkwardness: Those who wear glasses can tell you that it takes a few days before the funny feeling of wearing something on your face or over your ears goes away. Your ears will need to get used to feeling the hearing aids, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable or painful. If you wear glasses and have devices that hang over your ears, you will need to work at arranging the two so they fit comfortably together. The awkwardness you feel will dissipate after a few days.
- Start off slowly: Always follow the guidance of your audiologist or physician, but it is generally acceptable to wear the hearing aids in comfortable environments during the first few days after you receive them. The goal is to wear them as often as you can to where you can recognize a variety of sounds and filter out noises that bother you. Don`t take them off in a quiet environment at home, as you will train your brain to acclimate to a number of different sounds and environments more quickly.
- Begin in a quiet place: You will want to test out your new hearing aids in a quiet place. Try to remain in a quiet room of the house for the first few hours you have the device on, as you will need to get used to hearing subtle or faint sounds. The ticking of the clock, the purr of the cat, the sound of a car outside on the road, or the timer on the laundry may all seem incredibly loud at first because your brain hasn’t processed these sounds for a long time. If there are certain sounds that bother you, make a list. You can report troublesome sounds at a follow-up appointment with your healthcare professional, and your device may be adjusted.
- Leave the volume alone: Thanks to advancements in technology, your hearing aids will probably conduct automatic adjustments for the different listening environments you are in. Because of this feature, you may not need to manually address the volume. It can be tempting to turn up the volume to try to hear sounds that are much farther away, but you won’t be able to use your hearing aids to provide the same capabilities as fully-functioning ears. You can actually do more damage to your ears if you approach your devices this way.
- Ask for normalcy: Your friends and family may be used to setting the television or radio on a higher volume to compensate for your hearing loss, but your new devices can return things back to normal. You may not know what “normal” will be with your hearing aids in, so ask someone to help you determine an appropriate setting for the volume. Make a note and keep the television or other devices consistently set to that volume.
- Socialize in groups: Before you head out and converse with people at the mall or in a store, practice having conversations with small groups of friends and family first. These are the voices that will be easy to identify, but you also practice with active listening. You will learn to face whoever is talking and read their nonverbal cues. Your brain will learn to reconnect body language, vocal patterns, and sounds to fully engage om communication.
- Use subtitles or captions: You may have been using on-screen visual support to cope with your hearing loss but continue this habit for a few days. You retrain your brain to connect language and sounds when you listen and read words simultaneously.
- Take care of your investment: New hearing aids are an investment in your quality of life. Simple hearing aid care tips include keeping the devices out of reach of children, storing them in a protected case, turning them off when not in use, and periodically cleaning them of wax or debris buildup. You may also need to clean the battery contacts and have them professionally serviced every now and then.
How You Can Improve Your Hearing
If you have been struggling to hear the television or have noticed a gradual decline in your hearing, you may be a candidate for assistive devices such as hearing aids. If you have recently been ordered a hearing aid, these tips can help you adjust to the experience more quickly and regain what you have lost.