Good hearing helps make life more enjoyable. When you have difficulty hearing the sounds and conversations around you, social interactions and gatherings can be exhausting and overwhelming. Many hearing aid users report an increase in overall quality of life, engaging in meaningful conversations for the first time in a long while.
However, not all significant change happens overnight. It can take a little while to get used to wearing hearing aids, and you may experience some sensory overload. Some people think, “Does the world really sound like this?” It does! And soon you’ll appreciate all the sounds that everything and everyone around you has to offer.
Here are three tips that can help you ease in to your new life with hearing aids.
1. Use them consistently
It’s important you wear your hearing aids for most of the day. The true benefits of hearing aids are only achieved through frequent use, even if they feel slightly uncomfortable at first. As you first begin your hearing aid regimen, you may sometimes forget to put them on altogether. Don’t worry; this is a common first-time mistake. If this is the case for you, consider leaving yourself a note on your nightstand or set a reminder on your phone until it becomes second nature.
Wear your hearing aids around the house and in everyday situations. You might notice sounds in your home you haven’t heard in a while – dripping faucets, creaking stairs, the clanking of silverware. These may surprise you at first, but will quickly become a natural part of your life.
Just live your life as you always do and you’ll quickly adjust.
2. Enjoy new conversations
Talking with other people, both in face-to-face conversations and on the phone, is a rewarding experience for most new hearing aid users. Suddenly, speech sounds clear and focused. You’ll find yourself following and participating in conversations on a different level compared with what you were used to doing in the past.
If your hearing loss is severe, perhaps you have been avoiding talking on the phone due to difficulties hearing. Your new hearing aids can open up an entirely new world of social and professional contacts with improved phone communication.
3. Write down your experiences
Journaling during your first few weeks with new hearing aids can help you gather your thoughts and impressions. Note the sounds that are new to you. What unfamiliar sounds have you noticed? Are any particular sounds or situations unpleasant? What physical sensations do you feel when wearing your hearing aids – do they feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
These notes also serve as a valuable tool for when you visit your hearing care professional to follow up and let him/her know what is and isn’t working for you.
Bonus tip: It’s okay to take them off
One more thing! If wearing your hearing aids gets a little too intense or you feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to take them off when you need a break from sound. Your brain will eventually adjust to your hearing aids and you won’t always feel overwhelmed. In the meantime, don’t feel any pressure if you feel uncomfortable in certain situations at first. Simply take them off and put them back on when you are ready.
Your follow-up appointment
Your hearing care professional will likely ask you to come back for a follow-up appointment. This is so you can have your hearing aids fine-tuned based on your experiences so far.
Use this opportunity to ask any questions you have and share the issues you’re experiencing. It can be helpful to bring your journal, or a close relative or friend to your appointments, as they may have noticed important things about your hearing.