Corrective devices all carry adjustment periods. Eyeglasses tend to be easy, particularly if you’ve worn glasses for years. Hearing aids are another matter. Generally, these take longer to feel like your new normal.
This may be partly because your brain adapts more slowly to auditory changes. You might have been the last one to know you had hearing loss, since your brain adapts to your changing capability slowly, always trying to make it seem like nothing is out of the ordinary.
A new set of hearing aids creates a sudden change that can be quite jarring, particularly if your aids feature new or different technology than your last set. The difference is even more startling if you’ve never worn hearing aids before.
At Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates, we understand that it’s not always easy to adapt to new hearing aids, even when they’re ideally suited to your hearing loss. Our audiologists can help you to understand the expected changes, and even then it takes time for your brain to settle in to the changes.
An adjustment period
Your first days with new hearing aids feel different. Things won’t sound “right.” This is the case for people who’ve been hearing impaired for decades, moving between hearing aid sets every five years or so. There are changes even when you move to new versions of your current brand of hearing aids.
Your brain expects things to sound a certain way. Part of this is due to its constant adaptation to the auditory information it receives. When you suffer hearing loss, you don’t notice it unless it’s unusually sudden.
The brain accepts the information it receives from your ears and recalibrates around that. This hearing “memory” is persistent. A new set of glasses instantly brings vision into focus. There’s no single point of focus for your ears.
How to adjust well to your hearing aids
When you understand there’s an adjustment period that could last anywhere between six weeks and six months, it helps you navigate a world that sounds fundamentally different. We’ve gathered several tips to make the transition more manageable.
Consider these strategies and choose those that work for you.
Understand the controls and features
Simply knowing how to turn the volume up and down on your new hearing aids can ease the transition. Make sure you’re clear about controlling volume and changing programs before you leave our offices after your fitting.
For the first few weeks, wear your new devices at home for limited periods and in a variety of listening situations, like conversation, music, and even listening to the sound of your own voice
Expect the stress
There’s stress related to hearing differently. You might feel tired or irritable from this stress as your brain adapts.
Taking your hearing aids out can often be a relief. Increase the time you wear your aids daily until you reach a point where you’re comfortable. This length of time varies between hearing aid users. There’s no “right” length for your adjustment period.
Your new hearing aids are programmable. We can adjust the way they respond in many ways. If, despite a reasonable break-in period, you’re still unhappy with the sound, let us know. We can tune your devices to match your personal tastes.
Call or click to reach us at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates in Lawrence or Ottawa for a hearing test or hearing aid adjustments. Life is better when you can hear well. Make an appointment today.