First let me say congratulations for taking the first step toward better hearing. The first few weeks with hearing aids can be a little daunting. Even the happiest hearing aid users are a little uncomfortable in the beginning. The most important thing you can do is to start by creating excellent habits. The most important thing to remember is this: your brain has to have time to re-learn how to interpret all of the sounds that it is hearing again. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
#1- Wear them all day, every day.
It is tempting to leave your hearing aids on the dresser when you’re home alone or will be in a quiet environment for hours. But think about that for a minute. Your ears are always ‘on’ even in the most peaceful times. Because an area is quiet does not mean it is completely devoid of sound. The more you wear the hearing aids, the less distracting the small background sounds become because your brain learns to filter them out.
#2- Hearing aids don’t give you super powers.
Hearing aids don’t make it EASY to hear; they make it EASIER. Even with the best and most well-fitted hearing aids you will need to forgive yourself for not being able to hear through walls, separate multiple conversations at once, or for having trouble hearing in crowded rooms. Remind the ones who love you to look at you while they are talking.
#3- Avoid crowded places for the first few days.
Trouble hearing in background noise is the number one problem for people with hearing loss. Think of a noisy room as a marathon for hearing aids. Before you enter a marathon, you need to do a little training. Similarly, your brain needs to re-learn the basics before it can hope to sort out all of the noise.
#4- Wear them all day, every day (part II).
Your ‘dress’ shoes never very comfortable because you wear them on special occasions. The same will be true for your hearing aids. It is perfectly normal to feel a little itching at first. Some people say their ears feel full. These feeling are perfectly fine and will disappear very quickly if you wear them every day. Before long they will be as comfortable as your favorite slippers.
Hearing aids are the beginning of the solution … not the end. If you are having trouble getting used to your hearing aids, don’t give up! Call your audiologist, set up an appointment, and ask her to help. You will both be glad you did.