Your first 40 days with a hearing aid: a guide for newbies

A trip to the shopping mall. An afternoon at the library. A fancy dinner with friends. As you go about your day, you’ll go between many different kinds of noise environments - and that means your hearing aid does too.

But as anyone who has a hearing aid knows, it takes a bit of time to get used to hearing again. It can take a while until the world of sound feels totally natural again. So here are some ways you can make things easier as you get to know your new hearing aid and get back out there.

1. Start with quiet environments.
Sounds obvious, but many people who start out with a hearing aid find the experience overwhelming. Over time, you may have subconsciously adjusted to poorer hearing, which means the sudden improvement in sound volume and clarity can feel like an onslaught.

But don’t be disheartened – your brain will instantly begin the process of re-learning, including the ability to identify where sounds are coming from and separating important ones from background noise. To ease the process, start with quieter environments, like your home and increase the time you use your hearing aid every day.

2. Notice the details.
At first, even quiet environments may feel very loud. You might be very aware of the rustling of the newspaper, the click of your car’s indicators, or even the hum of the fridge or computer. If it feels like too much sound, don’t automatically turn the volume down on your hearing aid. Properly fitted hearing aids will give a true representation of how loud sounds really are, which means it may just be a matter of waiting for your brain to re-adjust. If you’re really uncomfortable though, always get in touch with your local clinic – they’re here to help.

3. Socialise small… then big.
With a new hearing aid, keeping up with conversation can be tough to start, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve heard clearly. Many people find even their own voice can sound strange in isolation – let alone in a larger group.

That means it can be easier to start with one-on-one catch-ups before moving on to bigger social events. Many hearing aids now offer ‘Noise Reduction’ features that help reduce background noise and can help make your dveice more comfortable. Some other useful strategies including facing the person you’re speaking to (and turning your back to the background noise), and watching his or her face for visual cues while they’re talking. If you’re still struggling it might mean the level of technology you selected isn’t appropriate for your busy lifestyle.

4. Get dialling.
Even with the various forms of email and social media available today, nothing compares to an old-fashioned phone conversation. Some people find that their hearing aid whistles or gives ‘feedback’ while speaking on the phone, so if that’s you, try holding the earpiece in a different position around the hearing aid. Usually there’s a ‘sweet spot’ where the sound quality is clear.

To find out more about your hearing health, book a free hearing test at your local clinic.

NHC blog is our place to explore ideas and themes of interest. For professional audiology advice, please contact your local clinic for a consultation.