Hearing loss rarely happens overnight, so when you’re suddenly faced with the sound of the world through newly prescribed hearing aids, the abrupt return of volume can be disconcerting and even upsetting.
In fact, this might be a significant factor contributing to “sock drawer” hearing aids, those that end up tucked away because of the seemingly overwhelming adjustment needed to rejoin the hearing world.
It can be quite a shock to rediscover sounds you haven’t heard for some time, as well as the difference in level of sounds that you could hear. Much depends on your hearing loss, the specific frequencies, and the severity of loss. The longer it’s been since you started to lose your hearing, the more difficult the transition may be.
However, you can adapt. It’s a matter of time and experience, and you’ll get to the point where you prefer the sound of the world through your hearing aids, as well as the increased level of participation that you’ll feel. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you learn about life with hearing aids.
Hearing is an adaptive sense
Your brain is a critical part of sensory processing. The sound pressure signals that your ears convert to electrical energy passing through your nerves are then interpreted by your brain. That interpretation process likely kept you from realizing you were losing hearing in the first place, as your brain “turned up” its volume perception to compensate.
Your brain needs a recalibration to process the changes that your hearing aids create, to adapt to this new normal. This process may take days or weeks, just as it will take time to adjust to the feeling of wearing hearing aids. Commit to about two weeks for your body and brain to adapt.
Build up tolerance
That two-week adaptation window doesn’t mean you need to wear your new hearing aids every waking hour. Wearing them for just a few hours a day is an excellent way to start immersing yourself into improved hearing. You may want to remove the hearing aids during quiet time reading, or, conversely, you may want to wear them to relax while enjoying music.
The key here is to ease into regular use, in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
Write down your experiences
Keeping a journal in the first few weeks about sounds that both please and displease you provides valuable information for your audiologist. Contemporary hearing aids are remarkably versatile. They can be programmed and adjusted in many ways, customized to the way you want to hear. A written record will help communicate your preferences.
Adapting to hearing aids takes time and patience. You may be one of the lucky people who are comfortable right from the start, but the fact is, most people need some adjustments for both fit and programming before settling into comfortable, clear hearing.
The audiology experts at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates know the hearing aid products as well as the adjustments you’ll be facing. Open communication with them is the quickest way to better hearing and a positive hearing aid experience.
Call the most convenient office today, or send us a message here on our website anytime to schedule your appointment.