Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

Jesse Western

If your experience of hearing loss has been like most people’s, you did not rush to get a hearing test the moment your hearing ability started to decline. For most people, hearing loss happens slowly, almost unnoticeably over the course of years, and most of us don’t start wearing hearing aids until the problems we face without them become unavoidable.

While hearing aids do not restore a person’s hearing to perfection, they will allow you to hear almost normally again. By the time you’ve received your hearing aids, the difference upon putting them in for the first time will be extreme. Your brain will need some time to get used to hearing again. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you adjust to your new hearing aids.

  • Be prepared to feel tired after a short while of wearing your hearing aids for the first few times. The brain consumes a lot of energy, and retraining your brain to take in the new amounts of information that your hearing aids will provide to it will make it work hard and tire you out at first. This is a normal part of getting used to new hearing aids, for everyone.
  • You will hear better in conversations, but you will also hear everything else better, including background noise. You will start to notice sounds that had gone missing from your experience for a while. Your fridge buzzing or other machine noises in your home, outside birds or traffic, even clocks ticking might be irritating at first, but this is also something you will adjust to over time.
  • You might be inclined to imagine that your experience with hearing aids will be similar to getting new glasses, but it is not. The way that vision simply sharpens up with glasses is different than the complex way that the brain interprets sound, and your hearing aids will be making sound louder but are not able to provide many of the subtle location cues that are caught by the unaided ear. It will take a while to get used to this, but it will happen.
  • When you placed the order for your hearing aids, they were fitted for you at that time. But fitting hearing aids is a process, so be prepared to return to your hearing healthcare professional more than once as you continue to adjust. As you notice problems in the way they are working for you, you’ll need to go back and explain this, so they can be tailored to your personal experience and needs. You’ll need to do this more after you first receive your hearing aids, and eventually fitment will become less needed on a regular basis.
  • It might go without saying, but it is important to keep wearing your hearing aids, even though you might be tempted only to wear them occasionally, when you really want to hear something. Because of the way your brain and your ears adjust to hearing aids over time, it’s important to get into the practice of wearing them all the time so they become a normal part of your experience. If you stick with them, they’ll soon become second-nature and you’ll appreciate the way you’ve become accustomed to them.
  • Talk with friends or relatives who have had hearing aids for a while about your ongoing adjustment process. It’s always comforting to talk to someone who’s gone through what you’re going through, and they’ll be able to encourage you about your future enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Because hearing loss develops over time, it’s a good idea to keep in touch regularly with your hearing healthcare professional. You should get a hearing test regularly so that your hearing aids can be tailored for the way your hearing loss develops. The more you communicate your experience to your hearing healthcare professional, the more they’ll be able to help make sure you’re getting everything you need from your hearing aids.

Bringing home a new set of hearing aids is an exciting thing! Parts of your experience that you’ve been missing for a while, you will get to enjoy again. Hearing aids improve our relationships with friends and family and allow us to get out into the world. So even though you’ll need a little time to adjust, the improvements in your everyday life will be well worth it!