How to adjust to hearing aids
It’s important that you take the time to adjust to hearing aids after you have been fitted with them for the first time. Otherwise, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the different listening situations you will encounter in the initial stages of wearing your hearing aids.
Give yourself time to adjust to hearing aids
Every individual adjusts differently to hearing aids. Remind yourself that some people need more time adjusting to their hearing aids and some people are able to transition very quickly. Just move and adapt at a pace with which you feel comfortable.
If you have never had hearing aids before, then your ears need to be retrained to recognise speech sounds at an amplified ‘normal’ level again. This can take time.
Your brain will discover many new sounds you weren’t able to hear before. It has to learn to separate useful information from background noise. This may be a slow process and it is not unusual for first-time hearing aid wearers to develop headaches. Don’t give up! Any overwhelming feelings are typically soon replaced with awe as you begin to rediscover the sounds of life.
The key to getting the most out of your hearing aids is to practice and apply patience. Infrequent use can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration. So stay positive!
A guide for first-time wearers
Here is a recommended guide for first-time users to steadily adjust to hearing aids.
Week 1 (2-5 hours per day)
- Start with a comfortable volume level at home only.
- Watch television with your spouse/partner/friend and ask them to turn the TV to their comfortable level.
- Walk around the house listening to different sounds (the toilet flushing, the light switch turning on/off, the sound of your feet on the floor). This will retrain your hearing to distinguish useful sounds from noise.
Week 2 (5-8 hours per day)
- Take a walk around the garden and your neighbourhood, identifying sounds along the way, go to your local shop/newsagent, listening and adapting to new sounds all the time, once again training your brain to recognise useful sounds from extraneous outdoor noise.
- Speak to someone in a quiet environment with a radio/TV on in the background.
- Have dinner with family or friends (4-6 people), with whom you feel comfortable (any difficulties should be noted and discussed with your audiologist).
Week 3 (8-10 hours per day)
As you feel more confident, wear the hearing aids in the shopping centre, driving the car and when there are small groups of people, say, 4-6 people in a group.
Week 4 (10 hours+)
- Continue to wear the hearing aids at home in quiet and when there is background noise, i.e. dishes, TV, radio, groups of people.
There are lots of different apps available to help you adjust to your hearing aids.
AB CLIX is an iPad-based training game that helps you distinguish words in noisy environments. Choose short, medium or long practice sessions. Save your results so you can track your progress over time. Free, for iPad only.
Hearoes has collaborated with audiologists and speech pathologists to create interactive auditory training. Designed for hearing aid wearers on different stages of their hearing journey. The games help users identify new sounds and develop confidence.