Hearing loss is one of the most common and least visible afflictions in the United States. According to some estimates, as many as one in five Americans are affected and that number is increasing. Thankfully, due to the benefits of modern technology, hearing loss is also one of the most highly treatable problems that exist. Unfortunately, people can be reluctant to address it due to concerns about appearance and cost, as well as a misunderstanding about how poor hearing affects their lives.
If you’re about to embark on a quest to improve your hearing through hearing aids, congratulations! Your hearing and your quality of life are about to improve. Hearing aids, which come in all shapes and sizes do a remarkable job of improving people’s ability to hear and interact with the outside world on their own terms. Of course, adjusting to a brand-new hearing aid can take a little time, but armed with a little information, helpful advice, and foresight, you’ll feel right as rain in no time.
1. Start Slowly
When you don your first hearing aid, it’s wise to only wear it for an hour or two at a time, so you can get used to how it feels in relation to your physical ear and in terms of how it feels to experience the world at a different volume than the one you’ve gotten used to. Visit a qualified audiologist for detailed instructions on adjusting your hearing aid so as you get more used to wearing it. You can then fine tune it according to your needs.
2. Have Appropriate Expectations
Wearing a hearing aid or pair of hearing aids for the first time can be a jarring experience, so even before you step out of your audiologist’s office, prepare to feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of common, now seemingly unbearable, noise. From traffic to television commercials, the world is probably much louder than you realized, and your new hearing aids will highlight that. Don’t despair and toss your hearing aids in a drawer! You’ll adapt in a few days or weeks so that you can filter out meaningless sounds, and you’ll learn how to better adjust your hearing aids, too.
It’s also important to note that you won’t hear in the same way that you used to. As good as technology has gotten at improving bad hearing, there’s no substitute for pristine, undamaged ears. Some nuances will still be difficult to discern, and some sounds will be too loud. Stay positive, and remember that you’ll adjust to these limitations over time.
3. Adjusting Your Voice
One common occurrence for people addressing hearing loss is shock at the sound and volume of their own voices. If you’ve suffered from untreated hearing loss for a while, you probably speak too loud to compensate for what you’ve been unable to hear. Try not to be overly self-conscious about it. You’ll adjust your voice and volume with practice as you relearn what it’s like to hear yourself at an adequate level, again.
4. Learning About Adjustments
Most hearing aids are adjustable by the wearer, and this user-friendly feature allows you a lot of freedom. As with anything new, you won’t be able to keep from making mistakes regarding adjustments, which will lead to temporary frustration. Keep at it. With practice and use, you’ll master your new devices soon enough, and the more you’re able to be kind and non-judgmental with yourself during the learning process, the faster that will happen.
5. Court the Best Seats in the House
Just because you now have some help in the hearing department doesn’t mean you should forego giving yourself plenty of practical assistance to hear well. When you go to the theater, church, town hall meetings, and elsewhere, be sure to choose seats where the acoustics are best near the center of the room and in front of the soundboard, if there is one. Because your hearing aids can’t capture every detail, situating yourself where hearing is easiest will act as yet another aid, so you can fully participate and enjoy whatever it is you’re taking in.
6. Learn Good Hearing Aid Care
One of the most important parts of adjusting to a new hearing aid is learning to take care of it. Follow any manufacturer’s instructions and advice from your audiologist to the letter. It’s also important to keep earwax buildup under control, and keep your hearing aids away from moisture.
Adjusting to life with a brand-new pair of hearing aids can have a few bumps in it, but the payoff is worthwhile. Follow these tips, and you’ll feel right at home with your new aids in just a few short weeks.