The Importance of Adapting to Hearing Aids
Getting used to any hearing solution can take some considerable time. It is important to remember that we hear not with our ears but with our brain. As our hearing changes, the brain tries to adapt and change to maximise the information it can access from the reduced input from our ears.
Adapting to Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
There comes the point where this adaptation is no longer sufficient to compensate for the reduction in clarity, and the assistance of a hearing solution is needed. Some of the adaptations we undergo can be beneficial for overall understanding with or without hearing aids. We become more visual and skilled at lip-reading to some degree. Unfortunately, some of the changes that take place in the brain can make it a little harder to adapt to hearing instruments, whether they are your first or simply a new set.
The Journey to Hearing with Hearing Aids
With all that in mind, think about how long you have been getting used to your current way of hearing the world. Whether that be with an unaided hearing loss or with hearing aids? The answer is probably “a long time”, and not only for a long time but all day, every day during that period. It’s taken some time, but you’re now used to the way you hear – even if you don’t always hear as well as you’d like. When you get hearing aids either for the first time or if you change from one set to a new one, your hearing changes dramatically in a matter of minutes once they are fitted and adjusted.
Adapting to Your New Hearing Aids: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now you have to adapt, and the best way to do that is to wear your hearing aids as much as possible in every situation. You can’t adapt to something that isn’t there. Even in the quiet environments we find ourselves in, there is sound, and you need to re-learn to hear it all. It’s difficult at first, but with a little persistence, here’s what you can expect:
The first 7 days – The tricky bit.
- Sounds may appear much louder than before.
- There may be a ‘tinny’ or microphonic tone to the sound at first; this is completely normal.
- Your own voice may appear strange or even to echo. This effect usually disappears rapidly.
- Complex, noisy environments may seem overwhelming.
- Your brain needs to re-learn how to filter unnecessary noise.
The first 30 days – It’s getting better…
- Your brain will begin normalizing the volume, and sounds should seem more balanced and even.
- The artificial tone of the sound should begin to fade, sounds should start to seem clearer.
- Your voice will usually sound natural and clear to you without ‘getting in the way’.
- Small groups and quiet restaurants should be manageable, although noisier places may still cause some difficulty.
The first 3 months – You’ve done it!
- Not only should sounds be comfortable at this stage, but you may even be ready for a little more volume.
- Your brain should now be completely used to the sound of the hearing aids, and sounds should feel normal to you when wearing your hearing aids now.
- Your own voice should have faded to the background, although to other people, it will seem better controlled when the hearing instruments are worn.
- Small gatherings and more challenging environments should be becoming more accessible to you now. It is worth remembering that even people without any hearing loss can mishear when there are a lot of voices or loud music.
Embracing Better Hearing with Hearing Aids
It’s important to remember that even at this point in your journey, your hearing is still probably not as good as the hearing of someone with no hearing loss. However, we are adaptable and with the help of hearing aids and support from your audiologist and the rest of the Novus team, YOU have learned to hear better! By wearing your hearing aids all day and giving yourself time to adapt, you can greatly improve your overall hearing experience and quality of life. So, should you wear your hearing aids all day? Absolutely! It’s an essential step towards achieving the best possible hearing for you.
If you’re not a patient with Novus Health but would like to speak to an Audiologist about your hearing, please ask your GP to refer you for an appointment.