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How can I stop my hearing aids from sounding tinny?

hearing aid sound - close up photo of a woman

I’ve had a pair of hearing aids for almost 6-months. Things like running water and rustling paper seem to have a tinny quality. I notice the output response graphs in the User Guide show the response peaking at 3 KHz. Is this the cause of the tinny phenomenon? Or is it something else? Is there a way to minimize this effect?


Yes, there is a way to minimize the “tinny” effect you are experiencing. The most common type of sensorineural hearing loss is in the higher frequencies. When you have this type of hearing loss for an extended period of time, the ear gets lazy in those ranges. Then when hearing is restored, your brain isn’t used to those sounds and the hearing aid-enhanced audio doesn’t sound natural to you.

The way to treat the problem is to rehabilitate your hearing. Essentially the process works by starting with a softer setting than needed at the higher frequencies, then gradually increasing the volume over time until the target amplification level is achieved. This allows your brain time to adjust to hearing normally again. Your provider can develop an acclimatization plan that is best suited to your individual hearing loss.

Acclimatization can be a slow process, but it’s important to be patient and let the instruments work. Everyone adapts to hearing aids differently, and it can take a while for the brain to adapt to the new sounds. It may be tempting to go too fast and immediately jump straight to the target amplification level, but if you start softer and work your way up, you will often get a better outcome.

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