Tim and Janis Gaule
In this month’s article, we would like to discuss the challenges of adjusting to new hearing aids. The following suggestions that we share are based on Tim’s experience, prior discussions within our hearing group, and a review of several articles regarding this topic.
It is not unusual to have attendees at one of our monthly meetings tell us that they no longer wear their new hearing aids because, “They are uncomfortable,” “Everything is louder,” “My voice sounds like I’m in a tunnel,” or “They make me look old.” So, what are some tips to help an individual adjust to their new hearing aids?
You should try to wear your hearing aids as much as possible. It’s okay to start small and just wear your hearing aids a few hours at a time but, eventually, you should be wearing them all day seven days a week. Joe, a valued and respected member of our group, who sadly passed away last year, would always say, “If you have hearing aids, wear them.”
Regardless of whether your hearing aid is a behind-the-ear model or an in-the-ear model, you will initially be aware of something that wasn’t in your ear previously. Be patient. Likely, you will no longer notice them in a few days. An earlier hearing aid that Tim previously owned had an uncomfortable ear mold that was making his ear sore. He called his audiologist, and she had him come back into her office so she could adjust the fit. After the adjustment, he soon forgot that he was even wearing a hearing aid.
You may feel that everyone is noticing your hearing aid. But most people probably won’t even notice them. What they likely will notice is that you are hearing better with your new hearing aids. Tim’s mother also wore hearing aids. Her hearing aids were hidden by her hair, yet she was still self-conscious about wearing them. Tim’s family always knew when she wasn’t wearing her hearing aids because she would ask for comments to be repeated.
Your own voice is going to sound different. Some people feel as though they are talking in a barrel or a tunnel. As you wear your new hearing aids, your brain should adjust to the new sounds. But, remember, if you believe your hearing aids are causing discomfort, you should consult your hearing professional. Don’t just put them in a drawer.
Your hearing aids should improve your hearing, but they won’t give you perfect hearing. Family and friends often think you should hear everything now that you have hearing aids, and that is simply not the case.
Adjusting to new hearing aids is a process that takes patience, persistence, and practice. But the benefits are worth it, as improved hearing can help you enjoy so many of life’s activities. Finally, if you feel that hearing aids make you look old, just remember another thing Joe would say, “We are already old!”
We would be interested in hearing comments or questions that you may have relative to this article. Our contact email is [email protected]. This is also a topic that we would be happy to discuss further at one of our monthly meetings. The Discussion Group for Better Hearing meets the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Sonoran Room at the MountainView clubhouse. For more information, contact Jennifer Jefferis at [email protected] or Lyle Larson at [email protected].