When you put on hearing aids for the first time, it can be a bit like looking through an old photo album. When you look at old photos of yourself, sometimes you can be surprised at the way you looked or what you were doing. Your younger self can seem different and not quite the way you remember yourself.
When you put hearing aids into your ears for the first time, you may have a similar experience. If you haven’t heard some sounds for a long time, they may not sound the way you remember or may sound completely foreign.
New hearing aids take some time to get used to. However, if you stick with them and commit to retraining your ears to hear again, you’ll open yourself up to a fuller life. Here are five ways to help retrain your ears as quickly and as easily as possible.
1) Be patient
Many hearing aid wearers report miraculous results from the moment they put on their new hearing aids, but there are just as many who have to work their way into hearing aids slowly before they feel completely comfortable with them. New sounds may be overwhelming at first, and getting used to the feel of hearing aids in your ears can take some time. That’s perfectly normal.
To get used to your new hearing aids, wear them regularly for four to six weeks at a minimum. Four to six weeks will give your body and mind enough experience with them to determine if they are helping you hear more of the world around you. If you haven’t been wearing your hearing aids regularly, now is the time to start. Your provider can help you get back on track.
2) Be honest
You’ll speed your path to better hearing by being honest with your hearing healthcare provider, your friends and family, and–most importantly–yourself.
Your provider needs honest feedback in order to give you the solutions you need to improve your hearing. If you only wear your hearing aids three days a week, tell your provider, so they can understand the problems you face and adjust your program to better suit your needs.
When you are open about your hearing loss and hearing aids with your friends, family, and co-workers, they can help you communicate better. They support you and are on your team. Help them help you by telling them about your loss and talking about ways you can communicate better with them.
Lastly, be honest with yourself. Put on your hearing aids with the intention of hearing better. Work toward that goal every day. Ultimately, you are responsible for improving your hearing. So keep yourself honest and working toward the right goals.
3) Educate yourself
When you put on your first pair of hearing aids, your journey to better hearing health has begun. Your provider can offer support, tools, and educational materials to help you, but they only work if you use them.
Your provider has undergone special training to help you achieve better hearing and wants to help you succeed. They may give you pamphlets, articles, books, or other materials to help educate you on the best strategies for improving your hearing through hearing aids. Read them. Follow them.
Some providers may even offer support groups or group education sessions where you can benefit from the experience of other people who are also starting their journey with hearing aids. These group meetings can be extremely beneficial for your hearing education. They can also help you feel that you’re not doing this alone.
Hearing aids will not solve all of your hearing loss issues in all circumstances for the rest of your life. You will still encounter situations where your hearing aids do not provide all the help you may want. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive, and work toward fixing what can be fixed.
For example, write down the top three places or situations where you experience difficulties while wearing your hearing aids. Discuss these experiences with your provider. The provider can make adjustments to assist with those three things and make them the best they can possibly be.
Focusing on one area of your life at a time will help keep you on track and increase the efficiency of your hearing aids quicker.
5) Follow up and check up
If you wear glasses, you know that your eyesight changes over time, and you may need to update your prescription as time passes. The same is true with hearing aids. Follow-up appointments and regular checkups are ways to touch base with your provider and make adjustments to your hearing aids to keep them at optimal levels.
These follow ups also give you a chance to talk about issues you’re having with your hearing aids and discuss ways to improve them.
The best way to improve your hearing is to become a full participant in your own hearing health. Give yourself time to get used to your hearing aids and make every effort to educate yourself and improve your communication strategies so you can hear better and feel better too.
If you found this information helpful, there is more on the way. In our next newsletter, we’ll discuss some specific aural rehabilitation tools and resources that can help you continue to improve your hearing after wearing hearing aids.