Common Problems Adjusting to Hearing Aids and How to Overcome Them
So you’ve recently invested in new hearing aids and you’re amazed at the improvement in your hearing, but there’s a few things you’re still struggling to get used to. Don’t worry, that’s normal! Here’s what you need to know.
Most people who invest in new hearing aids report a dramatic improvement in their quality of life, as they’re suddenly able to understand speech and participate in everyday activities more clearly than they have in years.
But that remarkable change sometimes comes at the price of an adjustment period. To help you get through that adjustment period, we’ve put together the following list of some of the common problems patients report while adjusting to their new hearing aids. If you don’t see the particular adjustment issue that you’re experiencing listed here, you can always get in touch with a Beltone hearing care professional near you for a personalized consultation.
The sounds that you hear seem odd.
When you first begin using a hearing aid, the sounds that you hear may at first seem odd, off-balance or different from how you remember them. Here’s why:
- When hearing loss happens, changes occur in the ears as well as the brain. As a result, the brain adjusts and rewires itself to cope with hearing loss.
- When a hearing aid produces normal hearing volume again, the brain often reacts with surprise and interprets the sounds as too loud or otherwise “off.”
- As you continue to wear your hearing aids, your brain will readjust and the sounds you hear will begin to sound “normal” again.
Tip: Wear your hearing aids for a few hours at a time on the first day, and gradually increase the wear time to get used to it. Do not immerse yourself in noisy environments right away, because it may be overwhelming.
You’re noticing acoustic feedback.
Acoustic feedback is caused by the leakage of sound from the hearing aid receiver back to the microphone, and often manifests as a whistling sound. A hearing aid that whistles not only impairs the ability to hear, but also causes embarrassment to the user.
Tip #1: Earwax buildup in the ear canal is a common culprit for feedback problems. Check your ear canals for ear wax and make sure your ears are properly cleaned.
Tip #2: Poorly fitting ear molds can also generate feedback. If you have recently lost weight, it may cause the hearing aid to fit loosely and cause problems. If you notice acoustic feedback immediately after an illness or weight loss, you may need to speak with a Beltone hearing care professional about selecting a new ear mold or shell.
Tip #3: Today's digital technology comes equipped with digital feedback suppression, so if these other resolutions don’t work, make an appointment with your hearing care professional to have your hearing aids recalibrated or to have the dome changed.
You're having difficulty actively participating in conversations.
Today’s hearing aids are designed to minimize background noise and make hearing a more comfortable experience, but you may still find it difficult to isolate one particular voice or sound, especially as a new user. When several people are talking all at once, it may be difficult to follow the conversation or participate in the discussion. But don't get dejected—even people with normal hearing struggle to participate in discussions when lots of people are talking at once.
Tip: Move a little closer to the person that you want to focus on and follow his or her conversation. As you get used to your hearing aid, you will find that you’re able to handle similar situations with gradually more and more confidence.
You're getting used to volume adjustment.
When you use one of today’s hearing aids, you shouldn’t need to manually adjust the volume too often, as your hearing aid will do this automatically based on your settings. Sometimes, you may feel tempted to boost the volume to understand someone who is speaking in a low voice at a great distance.
Tip: Get to know the settings of your hearing aid app where you can make more effective adjustments based on your surroundings. Beltone also offers a range of accessories to help you further improve your hearing based on your personal needs and preferences.
Above all, remember that wearing a hearing aid can feel a little strange at first. But after that initial period of adjustment, you will get used to the new sensations and appreciate the difference healthy hearing can make in your life. As always, your Beltone hearing care professional is here to help start you off on a path to success with your new hearing aids.