Congratulations on being a new hearing aid user! You are now one of the 20% of people with a hearing loss who have made their hearing health a priority.
When you’re a new hearing aid user, you’ll have a lot of questions because you’re wearing something that feels new and different, and it can be an awkward feeling at first. Every sound is different to what you’re used to hearing, and it can take a while to adjust to your new normal.
Just like an orthodontist will help you adjust to new braces, or an ophthalmologist to new glasses, you get so much more when you buy your hearing aids through a local audiologist. And at Hear in Texas, our team is here to support you all through your new hearing journey.
Here are our answers to some of the questions you might have.
How Long It Takes To Adjust To New Hearing Aids
Surprisingly, people adjust fairly quickly to their hearing aids, but full acclimatization takes about three months. However, it should be noted that there are different types of hearing loss, and the length of time you’ve had the hearing loss for can affect the adjustment period.
Even if your hearing aids feel uncomfortable and you are frustrated at having to wear them, please don’t remove them, as this will delay your adjustment period considerably. They are made to be worn all day long.
The most common experiences you’ll have when first wearing hearing aids might include:
- Whistling feedback.
- Everything sounds loud.
- They’re causing itchiness and discomfort.
1. Whistling Feedback With New Hearing Aids
Whistling feedback is caused when the sound coming out of the speaker gets reamplified into the microphone. This can happen when the hearing aid is not in the ear properly or if you are holding it in your hand. We can measure and control this by ensuring your hearing aid is inserted correctly.
If you begin to experience feedback that was not there before, it is usually caused by wax in the ear canal, which we can remove.
2. When Everything Sounds Loud
Most people are surprised with how much they did not know they were missing. They report that paper sounds loud, running water is loud, and they can hear their footsteps and their clothes rustling. Interestingly, when someone loses their hearing suddenly, these are the exact same sounds they notice missing first.
When you slowly lose your hearing, your brain adapts to its new normal of less input, and you gradually forget what sounds were like.
Suddenly you get the sound back and it’s like flipping on a light switch in a dark room. The light is not any brighter than it was before; it’s just that there is a sudden change in the brightness at that moment.
Even though every sound seems loud, rest assured that your hearing aids are programmed to match the sound level you need based on your hearing test results. However, if you feel they were programmed to be louder than you need, we can make a few adjustments.
The sounds should seem loud but not uncomfortable. Your brain will adapt quickly and then it will seem like everything is dull sounding when you take the hearing aids out.
Again, it is not any louder than it was before; it’s just that your brain has been reminded of what sounds are like.
3. When Hearing Aids Cause Itchiness And Discomfort
New hearing aids can cause itching, as you now have a foreign object in your ear. The itchiness usually subsides in about a week. Some people have itching for a bit longer, and we have drops that can be used to soothe the ear canal.
Some ears will create more wax as a result, and you can come in for a check to see if you need it removed.
Wearing hearing aids and hearing everything the way it should sound is like traveling to a foreign country and learning the language. Your brain must work extra hard to listen and then “translate” what you’re hearing.
This can cause you to feel more tired than usual, and even get headaches from the strain, but it will soon pass.
If You Experience Pain With New Hearing Aids
Sometimes there may be slight discomfort as your ear adjusts to having a foreign object in it, but it should never be the type of pain that causes you to want to keep the hearing aid out of your ear.
If there is pain, you should come in so we can check your ear and the fit of the device. We can make modifications to the hearing aids if necessary.
If You Are Struggling To Adjust To Your New Hearing Aids
Our ultimate goal is to have people wear their hearing aids during all waking hours. Half the battle is a comfortable fit in the ear; the other half is getting the proper sound.
Not everyone is the same, so it is important to let us know if you are struggling. Contact us at Hear in Texas to speak to an expert who can help.
There is a lot we can do to make the adjustment process easier, but we can’t help if we don’t know there is a problem. The main thing is for patients not to get discouraged. We can typically find a solution.