What to Expect with Hearing Aids
Realistic Expectations: Hearing aids work very well when they are fit accurately and adjusted appropriately. All hearing aids should be comfortable with respect to the physical fit and the volume. If there is any discomfort, an individual should return to their audiologist immediately for alterations to provide a comfortable fit. Hearing aids provide individuals with hearing loss information to help that person to hear and understand better. They do not provide perfect hearing.
Getting Used to Hearing Aids: People learn at different rates. Some people need a few days to adjust to their new hearing aids, but most need a few weeks. When your auditory system is not used to hearing certain sounds, it can be a bit overwhelming when all the sounds come back at the same time. In general, the greater the hearing loss and the longer the hearing loss has gone untreated, the more difficult the transition to using hearing aids. The most effective way to get used to new hearing aids is constant use. If the hearing aids are sitting on a shelf most of the day, it will take longer for the brain to adjust to sounds. Audiologists are uniquely trained to provide rehabilitative programs that should occur after a hearing aid has been fit.
Background Noise: Virtually everyone, hearing aid users and non-hearing aid users, complain about background noise at one time or another. There is no way for a hearing aid to eliminate the sounds that the wearer does not want to hear. The good news is that there are now hearing aid circuits and features available that help to minimize some unwanted sounds. There is a great deal of research that reveals dual microphones effectively reduce background noise for many people with certain types of hearing losses. Ultimately, when it comes to background noise, if a person with normal hearing is struggling in background noise, a person with hearing aids will struggle in the same situation. Your audiologist can help you determine the best circuits and microphone options for your hearing loss and communication needs. The best and most efficient way to reduce background noise is through the use of assistive listening devices such as FM technology. Different manufacturers offer FM systems that drastically reduce background noise and enhance speech. Ask an audiologist how this technology can work with your hearing aid to improve your ability to hear and understand in difficult listening situations.
One vs. Two Hearing Aids: You have two ears because you need two ears. If you have a hearing loss in both ears and are only wearing a hearing aid in one ear, your brain is going to have a very difficult time focusing on speech in a noisy environment. Wearing hearing aids bilaterally (in each ear) will improve your ability to hear in noisy settings, allow you to localize sounds in your environment, improve the ability to understand speech and give sound a fuller quality.