We often think of hearing loss as something that comes with age. But, 15% of all adults in America experience some form of hearing loss. Not all of these people are pensioners, and chances are hearing loss is far more common than you think. The good news is that 95% of these people can see some improvement with hearing aids.
Wearing a hearing aid can change your life. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t take some getting used to. Digital rechargeable hearing aids today are much more advanced and convenient than they used to be.
If you have just started or are considering wearing a hearing aid, here are some tips to help you adjust quickly.
Know What to Expect
There are some side effects to wearing hearing aids, and it can take some time for you to adjust.
You can learn more about what to expect so that you don’t feel discouraged if things aren’t perfect straight away. Don’t be surprised if you feel more tired in the early days, as your brain works hard to adapt. You may also find them itchy and uncomfortable for a while. But, the goods news is, most side effects are short-term.
Start in a Quiet Room
Even if your hearing loss was relatively mild, suddenly being able to hear more can be overwhelming. So, it’s best to avoid crowds and loud atmospheres for a while. Start wearing your aid in a quiet room and at home until you feel more comfortable.
Build Usage Slowly
You might want to wear your hearing aid all of the time, to regain as much hearing as possible.
But, in the early days, it can be exhausting. Your brain is working hard to connect the dots, and it can be uncomfortable. Start with a few hours a day and build up slowly.
Try to Avoid Changing the Volume
Modern hearing aids can automatically adapt to different volumes, so you shouldn’t need to adjust them very often. Doing so can make it harder and give your brain false impressions of what you can hear.
Practice with People you Know Well
Hearing with an aid requires active listening. This means that to hear well, you’ll still need to see people’s mouths when they speak. Your brain needs to connect the dots between what it can see, what it can hear, and what it can infer from body language. Start with people that you are familiar with.
Your brain isn’t just connecting those dots with people. It’s doing it with all sounds.
Watching TV at a normal volume with the subtitles on can help to retrain your brain to interpret what the hearing aid is telling it. Reading a book out loud and listening to an audiobook while you read the physical book can help too.
Practice Listening Exercises
Go outside, sit in a quiet place, and challenge yourself to hear different things. Listen for traffic, birds, and other sounds and identify everything you can hear.
Getting used to a hearing aid can be hard work, but it’ll be well worth it when you can listen without being aware of it.