What to expect after having your hearing aids fitted
So you have gone through this process:
- You (or someone dear to you) has noticed that you had some kind of hearing loss.
- You have had a free hearing test.
- The results demonstrated a loss of hearing which could be improved with the use of a hearing aid system.
- Your hearing aid audiologist has explained your audiogram results with you, discussed what you would like to get out of your hearing aids and has explained the various styles available.
- You have ordered your hearing aids.
- The hearing aid audiologist has come back to fit your hearing aids and you now have them ready to be used for the very first time.
Now what happens?
To answer this question we need to examine how hearing works.
Hearing is actually a very complicated series of processes, each playing their part in relaying sound to your brain.
The outer, middle and inner ear each play a part in the process transmitting sound into a chemical/electrical signal which is sent to the brain.
Hearing loss occurs when any part of this process is not functioning as it should.
Whilst there are many reasons for hearing loss (ranging from things such as disease, trauma or blockages), the most common reason for hearing loss for the majority of us is simply due to a gradual age related loss (technically known as presbycusis).
If you do suffer from age-related hearing loss, it can be so gradual you simply don’t realise you have a problem for a while!
Because of this many people are able to continue to ignore hearing problems for many, many years even after they first suspect that they might be suffering from hearing loss.
In fact studies have shown that it takes the average person a full decade before they admit that hearing loss has become too much of an issue before seeking help. [1.]
The problem with leaving it for this amount of time is that whilst your brain can learn to adjust for the loss as best it can for a while, your hearing can only get worse and there will be a point where you might not be able to ‘get by’ any more.
Once your hearing gets to this point, day to day communication becomes very difficult leaving you open to feelings of isolation, withdrawal and even depression. [2.]
This gets us back to our original question:-
What happens when you finally use your hearing aids for the first time?
Because you can no longer hear certain sound frequencies your new hearing aids are about to help you hear a lot more sounds than you have been used to for a long time.
When they are first used you might feel like everything sounds strange, and alien, and different and ‘wrong’.
The reason for this is because your brain has been training itself on a moment by moment basis for possibly years and you are suddenly asking you brain to relearn all this in a one go.
This is why the first few weeks of wearing your hearing aid are the trickiest to get used to as you now have to ‘retrain’ your brain to understand sound it hasn’t received for a long time.
However, the more you wear your hearing aids, the quicker you can adjust to your new hearing aid.
However, hearing better isn’t a race – take your time and build up your familiarity with your hearing aids at a rate which is comfortable for you.
We suggest following these three steps:
1. Gradually increase the length of time you use your hearing aids
2. Use them indoors in an environment where you can control the noise around you
3. Start wearing them outdoors and then in as many environments as possible
If you build up your use like this you can get used to your hearing aids quickly and as smoothly as possible.
While hearing aids can never recreate natural hearing you will be surprised at how quickly you can get used to them and hear better all the time!
Of course, this is all describing the physical reaction to using hearing aids for the first time…
What really happens when you switch on your hearing aids after coping for years with hearing loss?
You get all these amazing benefits (and more!):
- You can hear friends and family clearly again
- You can join back in with conversations and discussions with loved ones
- You won’t feel awkward about going somewhere noisy
- You won’t dread going out for family meals
- You will find it easier to connect with others near you
- Work and socialising will be easier now that you can hear better
- Overall quality of life is improved
Advice from one of our hearing aid audiologists:
“Although it will feel strange at first you have to persevere with it through the first few weeks. You will quickly get used to your new hearing aids and you will be so grateful that you did so!
At Hearing & Mobility we offer a full aftercare service so we will help you adjust to them so that you can get as close to natural hearing as possible, as fast as possible.”
Miss Louise Moss, BSHAA, HAD
BSHAA Listing: http://www.bshaa.com/Find-an-Audiologist/87245
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