Hearing aids often provide the best solution to not only recovering hearing loss, but returning to a more rewarding, independent lifestyle as well. Working with my patients at Dublin ENT Clinic, I am well aware that getting used to new hearing aids can be challenging. To help ease my patients through the adjustment period for wearing new hearing aids, I have put together a few tips and basic principles to follow until you are comfortable.
Just like watching grass grow or paint dry, hearing loss is a gradual thing. Over the years, you have lost the capacity to hear certain sounds in the speech spectrum and normal sound environment. Hearing aids will help you regain some of your hearing, but you will not hear perfectly nor will the benefits arrive in an instant. In the initial stages of adjusting to hearing aids, there will be frustrating and uncomfortable sounds as well as technical issues to overcome.
The average learning curve can last anywhere from six weeks to six months.
To help maintain a realistic attitude and remain patient requires educating yourself about what is taking place during the adjustment period. The more you know and understand about your hearing loss treatment, the better you can participate in adjusting to your hearing aids, rather than feeling like they have control over you. Hearing is a complex function that goes beyond your ears, using the cooperation of your brain and other senses. As your brain begins to receive signals that it has been missing, it needs some time to become familiar with them again. Developing a greater understanding of what is taking place as your brain adjusts will also make it easier to be patient with the process.
Reading aloud to yourself while wearing your hearing aids helps reduce the length of the adjustment period.
Initially, many sounds will seem too loud and uncomfortable. Pitches like the rustling of clothing, the whoosh of an air conditioner, the hum of a refrigerator motor and even your own voice with greater amplification and clarity require patience. Being realistic, educating yourself and committing to sticking it out until you reap the rewards of your hearing aids are major steps in developing the necessary patience to make it through the adjustment period. Your determination will eventually lead to better hearing, greater independence and a return to the rewarding lifestyle you choose.
Keep in mind the saying, “time cures all wounds.”
Give Yourself Time
The final key to making it through the adjustment period of new hearing aids involves time. Because you are retraining your brain and training skin and muscles to adapt to a foreign device, there will be discomfort. To help overcome the discomfort, you should allow yourself to take short breaks from your hearing aids, rubbing away aches and soreness while you allow your body to rest from the strain. However, make a conscious effort to shorten the length of breaks and wear your hearing aids for longer intervals.
Schedule wearing your hearing aids part-time and gradually work your way toward wearing them from dawn to bedtime.
Because hearing aids produce such wonderful benefits for those who wear them, I encourage my patients to work hard at getting through the adjustment period of wearing their hearing aids by applying a realistic outlook, keeping themselves informed, enduring with patience and recognizing that the rewards will come in time. The Dublin ENT Clinic team and I are eager to provide the education, technical assistance and encouragement necessary to make your adjustment period as easy as possible.
Contact us for more information and guidance concerning the adjustment period for wearing hearing aids or schedule an appointment to evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment.