It is well known that people who start using hearing aids have to go through a period of accommodation that can sometimes mean a few weeks, especially if they have never worn hearing aids before. During this time they have to learn how to use the hearing aid and they have to gradually get used to all the new sounds, which will represent new stimuli for the brain, all these new sounds being forgotten over the years. Your audiologist will be an important partner as you learn to use your hearing aids, and you should not hesitate to ask them your observations or questions whenever you have them.
The biggest change will be the perception of your own voice
It is important to be aware that hearing aids will not accurately reproduce your hearing before hearing loss. For most hearing-impaired patients, the challenge is to adjust to their own voice.
At first you will be very aware that you are wearing a hearing aid and your own voice will sound a little strange.
You will notice that at first your voice will sound strange or unfamiliar and you may hear it even louder than you would like. The sound of chewing or swallowing may be especially noticeable. These sensations, which are annoying at first, will disappear as you wear your hearing aid longer.
Tips for faster accommodation with the hearing aid
- Wear them first home
Start by wearing the hearing aid in the comfort of your home or other quiet place. Focus on one-on-one conversations. Let your friends and family know that you are wearing new hearing aids to support you in this process and to help you in challenging environments. You can try reading aloud or even talking to your pet frequently to get used to the new sound of your own voice.
- Take breaks
The accommodation will be made by gradually wearing the hearing aids. On the first day you have to wear them for a few hours, in quiet environments, and as the days go by you increase the wearing time and try to gradually venture to noisier sound environments. Very important, do not give up! Use them every day, without exception, patiently. The audiologist is with you at all times with guidance.
- Go to appointments to check your progress
You will want to go to the hearing aid specialist for as many verification appointments as possible. Write down all the observations you have every day and present them in detail to the specialist. Your initial impressions are very useful in adjusting the settings. Talk especially about the sounds that make you uncomfortable and those that present a real challenge. Usually the first visit to the audiology office, after the hearing aid, is two or three weeks. At this visit, depending on your observations, the audiologist will make changes to the setting and possibly a volume adjustment.
- Be prepared for annoying moments, especially in noisy environments
If you have not heard well in recent years, you will be surprised by the abundance of sounds you will hear with the hearing aid. All these sounds could no longer be heard due to hearing loss and you will feel an overload of hearing. For example, the sound produced by the refrigerator engine, a background sound that we ignore most of the time, can suddenly seem very loud or unbearable. The reason is that over time the brain has become accustomed to selecting background sounds and prioritizing certain sounds over others. People who are adjusting to a new hearing aid need to learn again how to ignore background sounds, and the most important thing to succeed is to be patient and take everything easy as the brain adjusts.
- Report to a specialist immediately if you experience pain
Depending on the hearing aids you have chosen, you can have olives made after the mold, which means that they should fit perfectly in the ear. Audiologists warn us that there may be a slight discomfort at first, but if it causes us pain you should quickly return to the audiology office and resolve the issue. It is often easier for patients to adapt to the RIC – receiver-in-canal hearing aids, which use domes, because they do not create the sensation of a plug, as can sometimes be the case with olive hearing aids.