While some get used to their new instruments on Day One, others need a short period of adjustment.
When we first wear hearing aids, we hear lots of sounds all at once (that we haven't heard in years!) Even if the hearing aid volume is set just right, these sounds can be slightly jarring because our brain has forgotten how to prioritize them. When we were younger, our brains knew how to “screen back” less important sounds, like the hum of a refrigerator or the furnace blowing air. With hearing aids, our brains must get reacquainted with background sounds and learn how to “ignore” them. This can take a little while, so give it some time.
The best approach is to wear your new hearing aids for an hour at a time, several times a day, and in different listening situations. Read aloud to yourself, have conversations with your family, watch TV and listen to soft music. And, when you're ready to leave the house with your new hearing aids, start by going to quiet environments, such as a library or bank, and avoid large crowds and noisy places.
Slowly but surely, the world will start to sound “in balance”. In fact, after a couple of weeks, first-time hearing aid wearers report the joy of hearing chirping birds, laughing children, and rain on the roof-and are no longer aware of insignificant sounds.
Most hearing care professionals recommend a visit about two to four weeks after you get your new hearing aids in order to fine-tune them.
If your hearing aids are the custom fit style made from a mold of your ear canal, they should fit comfortably. However, it still may take a few weeks to stop noticing them. If you're wearing a “receiver in ear” (RIE) hearing aid, your adjustment period may be shorter because it's an “open fit.” Slight tenderness is not unusual, but should disappear within a week or so. Under no circumstances should your hearing aids cause pain.
When a person puts on hearing aids for the first time, their voice may sound louder than they're used to. Family or friends can help you strike the right balance so you'll know how you sound. It also takes time to get accustomed to “internal” sounds, such as chewing and swallowing.
The adjustment process can take a few weeks, but millions of happy hearing aid wearers will tell you that hearing well again makes it all worthwhile. So, take the plunge! And then, take your time. Soon, you'll love how well you hear and forget all about your hearing aids.