Hearing aids can change your life for the better in most cases. Many people don’t even realize the far-reaching consequences of hearing loss and how they can improve their overall health and quality of life with hearing aids.
For example, you’re more likely to develop dementia if you have hearing issues, your relationships suffer from hearing loss, and you may feel uncomfortable and experience psychological side effects if you can’t hear what’s going on around you.
Luckily, getting hearing aids can help you feel better in a myriad of ways, but there can be an adjustment period that comes with wearing them.
The following are tips to help you get used to wearing hearing aids if it’s new for you.
Go Into It Realistically
While getting hearing aids does have the potential to significantly improve your life, you still need to manage your expectations and be realistic as far as what they will and won’t help with and to what extent.
Primarily, hearing aids help enhance your current level of hearing, but they’re not going to restore you to a normal hearing level.
When you get hearing aids, you can take notes about different situations and show them to your audiologist so that you can get the appropriate adjustments to maximize how much help your aids can provide to you.
You also need to be patient with yourself as you adjust to hearing aids and give yourself time to get used to hearing certain sounds again.
Go Over the Basics with Your Specialist
When you have the opportunity to learn about your hearing aids and how to optimize your use of them with your specialist, take advantage. The specialist who fits you for your hearing aid will show how to use it and do other essential tasks.
Your specialists can also go over how many hours a day you should wear it as you’re adjusting, and provide you with other important instructions.
When you get new hearing aids, you should give yourself a transitional period to ease into them. You can start out wearing them just a few hours a day while you’re at home, and then overtime work up to wearing them all day.
If you wear them even when you’re in a quiet space, it can help your brain adjust better.
Your brain is making a big adjustment with hearing aids, so if you start to feel tired when you’re just starting to wear them, then you can take them out for a while.
Most people find it takes several weeks to a month to get used to wearing hearing aids and to adjust to background noises.
Your brain needs time to practice learning how to filter sounds and selectively focus on certain sounds.
Sometimes people with new hearing aids even find that they startle, but this will diminish as you adjust.
Adjusting To Your Own Voice
Sometimes when people get new hearing aids, they feel like the biggest adjustment isn’t the background noise, but instead is getting used to their own voice.
Hearing aids aren’t able to identically replicate how you heard before you had hearing loss. As a result, when you hear your voice, it may sound unfamiliar to you or louder than you want it to be.
You may annoy yourself even with your swallowing and chewing sounds, but you’ll stop feeling like this eventually.
As you start using your hearing aids, give yourself little challenges.
For example, try to locate where the sounds around you are coming from, or you can listen to audiobooks while you’re at home to start retraining your brain.
Don’t Alter the Volume Too Much
If you’re tempted to play with the volume on your hearing aids, don’t. Your hearing aids will automatically adjust to different situations, so manual adjustments should be minimal. Don’t make the volume too loud, and don’t try to hear things that you wouldn’t be able to even with full hearing.
Finally, work on talking to people in groups as you’re more comfortable with your hearing aids. You can start with your close family and friends because it’ll be easiest for you to identify voices you’re familiar with.
Make sure you’re engaging with active listening, meaning you face the person who’s talking, and you’re looking directly at them.
When you practice active listening it will help your brain make the connection between sounds, vocal patterns, and body language.
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