Like anything else, there is an adjustment period when being fitted with hearing aids later in life. They may feel funny at first, or even slightly uncomfortable. Working with your doctor to make sure the best fit is achieved is half the battle. It may take a few days to start feeling comfortable in them and hearing better, but keep in mind this adjustment period is totally normal. Check out these tips that will ensure your adjustment goes as seamlessly as possible so you can start enjoying this new phase of your life. You’ll soon wonder what you ever did without your hearing aid!
Don’t Get Discouraged
If you were ever fitted with glasses before after never having them in your life, you know how weird they can feel at first sitting on your nose and resting on your cheeks. It’s the same way with hearing aids. Your ears will need some little time to adjust to the new feeling. At first, you will probably be conscious of them in there, but after awhile, you won’t even realize you’re wearing them.
It will help to wear your new devices in comfortable situations only — at least for the first few days. Wear them a few hours a day, and gradually progress from there. This will give your ears a chance to adjust to the environment, wearing them during your waking hours so you can take note of all sounds you can recognize. Plus, you can filter out and identify any sounds that are too loud or bothersome. Write these observances down so you can tell your hearing professional at your follow-up visit. Then, he or she can make adjustments as needed. As you start to wear them more and more in quiet environments, such as when you’re at home, you can better detect sounds within loud environments and your brain can get caught up faster.
Don’t Fiddle With the Volume
Today’s modern hearing aids are built to adjust to different listening situations on their own, which means you don’t have to manually adjust them, at least very often. If you feel like you have to turn the volume up, don’t turn it up too loud. Do not try to make your devices do what natural human ears cannot, such as detect faint sounds that are coming from far away. They aren’t designed to work like that, and you can actually hurt your hearing more.
Talk to People in Groups
Start by conducting conversations with small groups of people, such as close friends and family. That’s because familiar voices are the simplest to identify. Hearing requires active listening, so always look people in the eye when speaking to them to help the brain distinguish between sounds, vocal patterns, and body language.
Watch TV With Captions
In the same vein, use your TV’s closed captioning option and use subtitles when you watch movies, as listening to words and reading them at the same time is an ideal way to re-train your brain in the connection of language and sounds. Also, ask your family to keep the TV volume at a normal level. If your hearing aids are functioning properly, you shouldn’t have to turn the TV up louder than usual.
Read Out Loud
You may feel funny doing this at first, but it can help you learn the sound of your own voice more quickly and do what you have to do to re-train yourself to speak at the correct volume.
Start Wearing Them All Day Long
After all these exercises and gradual listening periods (probably a couple of weeks), you should wear your hearing aids during all waking hours unless you are swimming or showering. Consistency is key when it comes to helping your brain adjust to volume and amplification.
Cognitive Decline Connection
You’ve already taken a great first step in improving your quality of life by getting hearing aids. Studies show that hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Additionally, improved communication made possible by hearing aids results in better mood, social interactions and cognitively-stimulating abilities. Those who do not wear hearing aids when they really should may experience decreased cognitive decline due to social stagnation and lack of cognitively-stimulating abilities.
If your loved one, such as an aging parent, is showing signs of hearing loss, set them up with a hearing professional to get them started on the road to better hearing — and better health.