Adapting to New Hearing Aids
What to Expect and How to Maximize Your Hearing Health

By Ashima Verma

Congratulations on taking this wonderful, big step for better hearing health! It’s an important milestone in improving your quality of life, communication abilities, and overall well-being. But your journey with hearing aids doesn’t end once you buy the device.

In fact, fitting is a continuous process that will help you successfully adapt to the new technology and help make sure that your hearing aids don’t end up in a drawer unused.

What Awaits You After Your Hearing Aid Fitting

Getting Used to New Sounds
Imagine you’ve been living in a quiet bubble and suddenly someone turned up the volume on the entire world. That’s what it feels like with new hearing aids. You might find that everyday noises, like the rustle of your clothes or the ticking of a clock, are surprisingly loud. It’s like having a front-row seat at a rock concert when you’re used to the library.

Here’s a nifty trick: Take it slow. Don’t freak out if the sound of your own footsteps sounds like a herd of elephants. Your brain just needs a little time to recalibrate. Soon, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without these sounds.

Feeling Something in Your Ear
Your ears are probably thinking, “What is this foreign object invading my space?” The sensation of having hearing aids in your ears can be a bit  strange at first, just like wearing a new pair of shoes.

Pro Tip: Keep wearing them. Pretty soon, your ear will be like, “Oh, this? Just my trusty hearing aids, comfy comfy.”

Hearing Your Own Voice
With hearing aids, your own voice might sound odd or echoey, and sometimes even very loud. This is called the occlusion effect, and it’s more prominent for people with high-frequency hearing loss. That is, it’s commonly seen in patients with age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). This phenomenon can be fixed with vents, but in general, as you listen more with your hearing aid, the unnatural quality of your voice will get better and more comfy.

Pro Tip: Practice speaking and reading aloud. You’ll get used to your ”new voice” in no time, and you might even start to appreciate its unique charm.

Steps to Ensure a Successful Hearing Aid Experience

Wear Your Hearing Aids Often
Well, no surprises here! When you are a new hearing aid user, I recommend that you wear them every day, gradually increasing the time the aids are in your ears. Build up this habit to full-time hearing aid use. With time, your hearing will become stronger. Plus, you don’t want to miss out on any juicy gossip, right?

Take Care of Your Hearing Aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean can help you avoid expensive repairs. Always use clean and dry hands to handle your hearing aid. You should also wipe your aid with a soft tissue to remove any earwax or debris. Use the brush that comes with the kit to brush the microphones regularly as they can get clogged.

Practice Listening
Think of it as a game. Engage in different listening exercises, like tuning into different sounds around you or focusing on conversations.

Join a Support Group for People with Hearing Loss
Connecting to others who use hearing aids can be incredibly helpful. Joining HLAA-WA’s HOPE virtual meetings or in-person support meetings are perfect for this reason.

Try Music and Auditory Training
According to ongoing research in auditory rehabilitation, music therapy interventions have been found to have a profound effect on hearing. For example, musicians with hearing loss have enhanced auditory skills, including speech-in-noise perception. Learning to play a musical instrument is particularly effective. It involves auditory processing, coordination, and fine motor skills. Music listening exercises, which are activities focused on distinguishing different musical notes, rhythms, and melodies, can also be used.

Auditory training involves the systematic and purposeful presentation of sounds to help listeners make perceptual distinctions. This process essentially serves as exercise for the auditory brain, improving its ability to perceive speech in noisy environments. Auditory training can be conveniently done at home using computers and mobile devices. There are various tools available, including:

Making The Most of Your Hearing Aids

Enjoy the Small Sounds
Take a moment to appreciate the sounds you may have missed. It’s like rediscovering a world of hidden gems.

Communicate with Loved Ones
Let your friends and family know about your new hearing aids. They can support you by speaking clearly, facing you while they talk, and by being patient with you.

Use Hearing Aids During Social Activities 
Don’t shy away from social gatherings. Your hearing aids are there to help you enjoy these moments completely. Sometimes it helps to turn your hearing aids down. If hearing in noise troubles you, make use of different listening programs available in your hearing aid.

Here’s a Bonus Nugget from Your Hearing Aid Fairy…
Going out to restaurants can be difficult due to background sounds and other unwanted noise. Here’s a helpful app called SoundPrint, which gives you live reading of noise levels in the restaurants in your area. You can download this app from the App Store and plan your trips accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Adapting to life with hearing aids is a journey, but it can significantly enhance your life. With patience, regular use, and ongoing communication with your audiologist, you’ll find that your hearing aids open up a world of sound that you might have been missing. Welcome to a world full of clearer, richer sounds!

About the Author

Ashima Verma is an audiologist with a passion for advancing hearing health and helping individuals with hearing loss. With experience in clinical audiology, she is currently exploring PhD programs to further her expertise and contribute to the field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *