You finally got those new hearing aids. You’re so excited to be able to jump into your social life again. No more missed transitions or confused conversations. But there’s a problem: everything sounds just a little off.
That’s because it’ll likely take you some time to adjust to a new pair of hearing aids. This can be a frustrating transition. After all, there was so much you were looking forward to, and that adjustment period feels so slow.
Luckily, there are some tips that can help speed up the transition process. With a bit of practice, you can quickly get yourself to a space where you’re thinking less about your hearing aids–and paying more attention to what you’re hearing.
Tips that help you start slowly
No matter how technologically advanced they may be, it will take your brain a little while to get used to hearing certain sounds again. Here are some ways you can intentionally give yourself time to adjust and start things off slowly:
- Start by wearing your hearing aids at home only: When you’re at home, you have a lot more control over what you’re hearing–and you’ll likely experience significantly less noise pollution. This means you can focus on one voice at a time.
- Focus on one-on-one conversations first: If you wear your hearing aids while dining at a crowded restaurant on your first day using the devices, you might be disappointed–not because the devices are doing anything wrong. It’s just that it’s hard for your ear and brain to cope with focusing on all those different voices. Sticking to one-on-one conversations can help make that transition easier (and give you a little extra practice, too).
- Wear your hearing aids for a short duration: When you’re just starting, you can practice by wearing your hearing aids for only a few hours at a time. They might feel a little funny at first (this is normal), so it’s okay to start a little bit at a time. As your hearing aids become more comfortable, you can wear them for longer periods of time.
Tips that help you get extra practice in
As with any other skill (and hearing is a skill, among other things), there are some activities that can help you practice with your hearing aids. Some of these are even fun!
- Watch TV with the closed captions on: It’s easy: put your hearing aids in, flip on the television, and watch your favorite show. As you read the dialogue, you’ll also be hearing the characters speak, and your brain will start remembering what all these words sound like. This can give you some practice hearing and adjusting to speech.
- Listen to an audiobook while you read the print version: This is a very similar exercise (and lets you get in some fun reading while you’re at it). Reading and listening to an audiobook concurrently will help your brain make connections between sounds and words.
- Do some listening exercise: That’s right: sit in a quiet room and let your ears do the hearing. You can practice by focusing on trying to hear the refrigerator running or the cat meowing in the other room, or the birds chirping outside.
Tips to keep your hearing health good
Of course, one of the purposes of hearing aids is to keep your ears as healthy as possible. And there are some tips you can do there to keep your ears happy as you get used to wearing your new hearing aid:
- Keep visiting your hearing specialist: There might be a temptation to think that once you’ve got the right hearing aids, you won’t need to see your hearing specialist anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. They can help you make adjustments to your hearing aids, keep the fit comfortable, and continue to check in on your hearing. These follow-up visits are very important.
- Be sure to note and report any pain: Your hearing aids shouldn’t hurt. So if you’re noticing any pain or something’s not fitting right, it’s important to report it as soon as possible.
Take your time, and work up to full-time hearing aids
Your goal here will be to work your way up to wearing your hearing aids full time. A slow and steady approach works quite often, but everyone’s different. You’ll want to get personalized advice from your hearing specialist on the best way for you to get used to your new hearing aid.
Following these tips (and tips like them) can help make sure that you enjoy having your hearing aids–and that you keep wearing them because they continue to enrich your life.