One very common misconception about hearing aids is that they are “just like eyeglasses,” meaning that once you put them on, your hearing troubles are immediately “corrected,” much the same as eyeglasses “correct” your vision when worn. Eyeglasses are considered corrective because when properly set and worn, your vision will be improved to the normal range. Hearing aids, on the other hand, are actually “assistive,” meaning they help the user to hear better with the hearing they have, but even when properly set, they do not restore hearing to normal.
Using hearing aids for the first time can be exciting but also a little frustrating as your brain re-adjusts to hearing sounds that you may not have heard in many years. Everything sounds crisper, stronger and may even seem a little strange at first. The adjustment to hearing with a hearing loss is very gradual for most people, but using hearing aids brings the full range of sound back all at once. Your brain needs time to remember the way the world actually sounds and how to determine which sounds are important and which sounds are not. How quickly your brain adapts is very individual. The longer a hearing loss is present, the longer you may need to adjust. Most people need a few weeks to get used to how things sound with hearing aids. For some, that process could take a little longer.
Once you have taken the first step to hearing better, consider these tips to help you experience the full benefits your new hearing aids have to offer:
Wear them, even when you don’t want to — It is very important to wear your hearing aids all day every day so you will be comfortable in all situations and every environment. Yes, some situations are more difficult than others, but the best way to help your brain adapt to more sound is consistent exposure. Your brain and your ears need time to learn how to work together again. Every time you listen with and without your hearing aids, you change the way your brain hears the world. Inconsistent use of your hearing aids only lengthens the adjustment process. Besides, hearing aids work best in ears, not in drawers!
Keep an open mind and a positive outlook — Focusing on the benefits your new hearing aids have to offer will help you through those days when it all seems difficult. As with anything else, you will have many good days and a few not-so-good days. You’ll get much more out of your hearing aids when you keep an open and positive mind. Remember that nothing is always perfect and sometimes small adjustments can be made to make things better. A call to your Audiologist may be all you need to get things back on track.
Educate yourself about your hearing loss — The more you know about hearing and your hearing loss, the easier it will be to understand your experiences with hearing aids and the adjustment process. There are many blogs and websites offering information and support to new and experienced hearing aid users.
Keep realistic expectations — Nothing cures hearing loss, but hearing aids can truly help you regain much of what you’re currently missing. Be sure to keep your expectations realistic when thinking about your new hearing aids. What were your challenges before you had hearing aids and what are your goals? Hearing better in one-on-one conversations? Understanding speech better in noisy environments? Remember – if your friends with better hearing are having trouble in a situation, you will have trouble too!
Be patient — Adjusting to hearing aids takes time, plain and simple. Go easy on yourself – you will get there!
Hearing exams and hearing aids are available through the Sight MD Hearing Services. Call (855) 295-4144 to schedule your audiological evaluation today