The first step is the most important step
Making the decision to get a hearing aid is a life-changing decision which will positively impact your personal well-being, your experiences, and your relationships. While most hearing aid users experience an adjustment period, the benefits following the adjustment phase far outweigh the potential discomfort a hearing aid user experiences in the beginning.
Your hearing is as individual as your fingerprint. At your first fitting, your hearing care expert will adjust your hearing aids to suit your unique hearing needs. After a few days or weeks, you may find that your hearing aids need more adjusting. In this case, you can visit your hearing care expert for a follow-up appointment to make any additional adjustments. These follow-up appointments are often free of charge, so do not hesitate to check-in and make sure you are getting the most out of your hearing aid.
Are you ready to take the first step and want to know what you can expect from a hearing aid? Or have you just gotten a hearing aid and find yourself curious as to what is normal and what is not? Then we advise you to read along!
What to expect
As hearing aids will be a new addition to your daily life, you may have to get used to having the hearing aid in your ear. As time goes on, you will get used to it and even forget that it’s there. While the hearing aid may initially feel foreign or uncomfortable, the hearing aid should not be painful. If you experience any pain, you should contact your hearing care expert.
While some hearing aids are more efficient at filtering background noise, a hearing aid may pick up some additional background noises that you don’t want to hear (along with the noises you do want to hear). While this is fairly normal, consider talking to your hearing care expert if the sound is especially bothersome or is causing any physical pain in your ear.
The “occlusion effect”
Some hearing aid users experience an occlusion effect, where their own voice sounds too loud or they feel like they are talking into a barrel. This effect is fairly normal and is more common with “in-the-ear” style hearing aids as these styles sit in the ear canal and essentially block the ear canal more than a more open-fitted “behind-the-ear” hearing aid. The hearing care expert may be able to adjust your hearing aid if you are experiencing this. Many users also report getting used to this effect over time1.
Interested in reading more about the different types of hearing aids? Read this blog.
Interference with digital devices
Since some cell phones interfere with radio frequency, some hearing aid users may experience a buzzing sound from their digital device. While this effect is becoming less common as phone and hearing aid technologies become more advanced, if you experience this, you can bring your phone to a check-up with your hearing care expert, and the hearing aid can be programmed to avoid interference with your cell phone. Alternatively, you can bring your phone to your first appointment and your hearing care expert can program your hearing aid to account for this from day one.
Did you know that modern hearing aids can connect wirelessly to digital devices? Newer hearing aids are compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, meaning you can stream video and music sounds, phone calls, and audiobooks directly through the hearing aids, working in a similar manner as headphones.
A whistling sound – also known as feedback
If a hearing aid does not fit properly or if your ears are clogged with earwax or fluid, you may experience a whistling sound (known as feedback). If you experience any such feedback, call or visit your hearing care expert to have the problem addressed2.
Tips for getting started with hearing aids
In the beginning, you may want to start by using your hearing aids in less noisy situations such as one-on-one conversations at home. However, try to wear your hearing aids throughout most of the day since this will help you get used to them much more quickly. You can slowly add in listening to the radio or TV, as well as venturing out into noisier environments. When taking phone calls, try to tilt the phone toward your cheekbone to avoid any “feedback” (or a whistling sound) from your hearing aids.
Tips for social events
Restaurants: Ask to sit in a quiet area away from the kitchen and main entrance to avoid being in the middle of the busiest parts of the restaurant. Sitting with your back to the noise will also help to minimize background noise
Cinemas: Call ahead and see if they provide “teleloop” systems (assistive devices which connect to your hearing aids and send the sound of the movie directly through to your hearing aids).
Conferences: Try to arrive early and get a seat at the front of the room. If possible, ask the presenter to use the microphone if the option is available.
While getting used to your hearing aids can take time, this adjustment phase is well worth the benefits you will experience once you’ve gotten used to wearing them. In the beginning you may experience some discomfort, an increase in background noise, feedback or hearing your own voice more loudly. Such experiences are common among new hearing aid users. If the problems persist, consider booking an appointment with your hearing care expert to have your hearing aids checked. You can ease into your new hearing aids by starting out in quieter environments and slowly re-introducing noisier environments. The benefits of enriching your life experience with hearing aids far outweigh the initial growing pains that come with adapting to your hearing aids – so stick with it and trust in the process!
A hearing test is the first step towards a better hearing. If you’re ready to take this step, please click here to find your nearest participating clinic and book a free hearing test.