What is the First Experience with A Hearing Aid Like?
There are several reasons why you may have been recommended hearing aids. From hearing loss to tinnitus, hearing aids are a great way of restoring some normality to your hearing, benefitting you in many aspects from your work life to your personal relationships. If you’ve recently seen an audiologist and need hearing aids, you might be wondering what it’s like, how it feels and if there’s anything to expect from wearing hearing aids.
It’s important to note that your experience with hearing aids may depend on what type of hearing aid you have. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may be able to choose from a variety of hearing aids to suit your lifestyle, from powerful behind- the-ear (BTE) hearing aids to discreet in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids. Your audiologist will be able to help advise you as well as help you decide on which kind of hearing aid to try.
What’s it like wearing a hearing aid?
It’s important to remember that adapting to hearing aids takes time, and it may not happen straight away for you. Take your time; there is no quick remedy or immediate cure. You aren't solely dependent on excellent amplification to gain access to the hearing world. Your brain is used to a lower volume of sound and may take some time to adjust to the sounds that will unexpectedly invade it on all sides.
The slicing sound of a knife on a wooden board, for example, can be overwhelming at first. It may take weeks or months to retrain the brain to recognize and distinguish sounds. Adaptation varies depending on the severity of the hearing loss, how soon it happened and how quickly your brain adapts to the new sounds.
It will all be worth it in the end if you are patient and work things out. Loud sounds can be unpredictable. Wearing a hearing aid has the surprising effect of greatly amplifying all sound produced around you. The unexpected blast of sound from all directions can be distracting when trying a hearing aid for the first time since your hearing loss began.
Pre-programming digital hearing aids ensures that the sound levels you hear are both safe and transmitted at an acceptable volume. Even then, you'll have to train yourself to hear or ignore certain background noises, just as your brain does.
Ensure you have the right fit
There's nothing quite like finding the perfect fit. It takes some practice to properly implant your hearing aid, and it can be frustrating the first time. You won't look back once you've learned the technique. If the discomfort persists or the sound quality is compromised, you should have the ear canal examined by a doctor or nurse to ensure that it is not blocked by excess wax.
Hearing aids may make your ear itchy at first, which can be alleviated with proper cleaning each night and the use of an oil spray. You should never experience any pain. If this happens, you can contact your audiologist for more advice and recommendations. At first, wearing something in or behind your ear for an extended period may feel strange. You'll get used to wearing one over time, much as people get used to wearing glasses.
Try and avoid noisy areas to begin with
As mentioned, loud and sudden noises will take some time to get used to. It will take some time for the body to adapt to the increased amplification. You should gradually increase your noise levels until you reach a level that is comfortable for you. It's best to start by using your hearing aid in quieter areas. On the first day, throwing yourself into a loud party or a packed restaurant may just give you a headache.
Getting used to yourself again
While you may have experienced hearing loss, you’ll have an idea of what your voice sounds like. However, several first-time wearers report experiencing the initial surprise while speaking for the first time with amplification. In this scenario, give your hearing aids a good test!
Call your friends and family, talk into the mirror and enjoy hearing your voice clearly. You'll grow accustomed to it.
You may also find that turning your back to loud noises helps you concentrate on smaller noises. Give yourself a chance to get used to how your hearing aids can benefit you, and how you can utilize them to the best of your ability.
If you’ve been experiencing hearing loss and would benefit from speaking to an audiologist, Arkansas Professional Hearing Care, call us at 501-614-7904 to book an appointment with one of our friendly and trained audiologists.