The day has finally come! You are so excited that received your hearing aids and you can understand you, family and friends, with greater ease, but your refrigerator sounds louder than you remember. Maybe there are more creeks in your floorboards and you’re having a difficult time adapting to the sounds in your environment. You might be nervous or anxious about losing the aids or damaging them. Maybe you’re still taking longer than you would like to put the hearing aids on in the morning and you are feeling frustrated. This melting pot of emotions is a normal experience.
Here are our top tips to smooth the transition to becoming a successful hearing aid user:
Be patient and forgiving.
First, let’s talk about the most important thing to remember: patience. Hearing aid use is no easy task, and it requires time for your brain to not only adjust to physically using and caring for your hearing aids, but also to re-learn the sounds around you. Be gentle with yourself as you learn how to put the hearing aids into your ears. With time and practice the process will become muscle memory.
When it comes to the sounds around you, your brain requires time to re-learn many of the environmental sounds that you likely have not heard in a while. The more you hear the sounds around you, the sooner your brain will learn to ignore them.
Wear your hearing aids as much as you can.
As we hinted earlier, the more you wear the hearing aids, the more opportunities your brain has to adjust and get used to the sounds around you. Wear your hearing aids in quiet, allowing your brain to learn to “tune out” the background sounds, and listening in noisy environments like a restaurant will slowly become easier.
If you find it difficult to wear the hearing aids all day, at first start small and break it up. The goal is to wear your hearing aids for at least eight hours each day. If you’re struggling with this, try to wear the hearing aids for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon and gradually build up your use to more than eight hours.
Build your hearing aids into your routine.
If you’re struggling to remember to put your hearing aids on in the morning, build them into your morning routine and make sure they’re in plain sight. Are you an avid coffee drinker in the morning? Store your hearing aids near your coffee pot so they are sitting in plain sight. Do you always read the paper in the mornings or sit down to watch the news? Keep your hearing aids on your side table in your living room. Make them visible so you can’t forget about them.
Turn the volume down, don’t take the hearing aids off.
Sometimes your hearing aids can feel too loud once you leave our office and enter the “real world.” Instead of taking the hearing aids off when things sound too loud, turn the volume down so we can build up your listening strength.
Practice good communication strategies.
As great as hearing aids can be, some situations will always be challenging, such as communicating in a busy restaurant. Practice good communication strategies, like asking someone to rephrase what they’re saying when you missed what they said. Setting up your environment for success will support hearing aid use. Make sure you’re facing your communication partner and you’re in the same room.
If you are struggling or noticing patterns as you get used to your hearing aids, write down your observations and give us a call! We assume no news from you is good news and we want to know when things feel “off” so we can fix them. We are here to help. Call us at 920-320-4780 with any questions or concerns.
Krista Fogltanz, AuD, is an audiologist with HFM Hearing and Balance. Dr. Fogltanz specializes in diagnostic audiology and enjoys working with patients of all ages. She finds audiology fulfilling because she can improve the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss. Her special interests include patient education and integrating the latest hearing aid technologies into her practice to help patients achieve their best hearing possible.