Adjusting to Life with Hearing Aids: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Hearing Aids

One in six Australians have hearing loss, and this number is expected to rise to one in four by 2050. However, only one in five who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them. Hearing aids are small devices designed to improve hearing and communication ability. There is often a misconception that hearing aids function similarly to glasses, automatically restoring hearing to “normal” upon use. Adjusting to hearing aids can take time and effort, although, when you do learn how to use them well, they can be an invaluable tool to help you connect with your loved ones. Understanding how to use hearing aids and what to expect are the first steps towards using hearing aids successfully.

When you first get hearing aids, they are customised to fit to you and your unique ears in a hearing aid clinic. During this appointment, you may be pleasantly surprised by the immediate changes in your hearing. You might notice an improvement in the clarity of speech, with your clinician’s voice sounding louder and clearer. Additionally, you may become aware of sounds in the room, such as the air conditioning running, that you previously didn’t notice without the hearing aids. However, it’s worth noting that hearing aid clinics are often soundproof, quiet rooms, and the true difference in hearing is typically fully appreciated once you leave the clinic.

Once you’re back at home, you might find yourself surprised, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed, by the array of sounds you’re now able to hear. Everyday noises in your environment may seem louder or sharper, such as the jingle of your keys, the hum of your tires on the road, and the clicking of the indicator in your car. It’s important to keep in mind that these sounds are perfectly normal to hear, even though you may not have heard them clearly for quite some time due to the gradual deterioration of hearing over the years. It’s common for these sounds to seem unfamiliar initially. For instance, you might notice that the sound of your feet or shoes on carpet or floorboards is more pronounced than you remember, or the sound of running water may seem different. This can occur when you have a particular type of hearing loss, such as high-frequency loss, where your hearing aids provide a boost to these sounds.

Additionally, you may find that the volume of your television doesn’t feel the same when you’re wearing your hearing aids. Take note if you perceive the television volume as too loud with your hearing aids in. Often, this is because we gradually turn up the volume over time in an attempt to hear the TV more clearly. If you’re a frequent television viewer, try to observe if the television sounds clearer and easier to understand, with less strain and concentration required. If the television audio is still unclear, be sure to inform your audiologist during your next appointment, as they can often adjust or find a solution for this issue.

When you start wearing hearing aids, it is important to let your close family and friends know. Over time, they may have become accustomed to speaking to you at a louder volume for you to hear them clearly. You may need to remind them to speak softer, as their voices will sound louder and clearer with your hearing aids. It’s common for them to forget, especially if they’ve been speaking loudly to you for many years due to your hearing loss.

At night, it is important to give your ears and brain a rest from all of the new sounds. Before going to bed, if you have hearing aids with a battery, remember to open the battery door to switch off the hearing aid. If you have a rechargeable hearing aid, remember to put it in its charger so it will be on full charge for you in the morning.

It is important to get into the habit of putting your hearing aids in as soon as you wake up. This practice is essential, even if you’re the only person at home, as there are still sounds that are important for your brain to perceive. The more you practice listening, the easier it becomes in challenging situations such as dining at a restaurant or shopping. This habit also helps ensure you never forget your hearing aids when leaving the house. However, it’s important to remember to remove your hearing aids before showering, even if they are water resistant.

Remember to wear your hearing aids every day until your next appointment with your hearing care professional, even if you find them strange or a bit loud at first. The brain adapts and learns, and it will acclimatise to the new sounds you are hearing the more you wear your hearing aids. During the first week of having new hearing aids, it is important to be patient and persistent before you start to notice the amazing benefits of your hearing devices.

At Knox Audiology, we take pride in our team of university qualified and experienced audiologists, who are committed to providing trusted, friendly, and professional hearing services, catering to all your unique hearing needs. Our comprehensive and diagnostic hearing tests are designed to understand and address your specific concerns, ensuring the best possible outcomes.

For any support, please reach out to us, call 03 9800 5697 or contact us online.
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