If you have just purchased a new set of hearing aids, congratulations! These devices are remarkably able to fill in the gaps in conversation for many people with hearing loss. When we are able to communicate more easily, we can reap a whole host of other benefits, not limited to the audible, but also including health, cognition, and mental wellbeing. Although acquiring treatment for hearing loss is the most important step, the process might not be complete at the point of sale. After you have hearing aids, there are steps you can take to adjust to them, making it possible to communicate clearly and easily without stress or confusion. Let’s consider these steps one-by-one, understanding that the process is not as simple as putting on a new pair of eyeglasses and suddenly seeing the world with clarity.
Follow Your Provider’s Guidance
When you are fitted with your new hearing aids, your provider will give you some guidance on how to acclimate to the devices. You might want to bring along a friend or loved one to this visit so that you have another person listening to all the details. With so much to remember, it can be difficult to retain all the information. Take notes on how to adjust to hearing aids, including how long to wear your aids at a time. You can return for a follow-up fitting appointment if you find over time that your hearing aids are not exactly suited to your needs.
Take it Slow
When you first try out your hearing aids, take it slow and steady. The first time you wear them should probably be at home when it is relatively quiet. You will notice sounds that you didn’t know were there, whether they are fans, motors, HVAC, or appliances giving off a hum. You might hear birds and animals outside, wind in the trees, or traffic outside your door. Wear your hearing aids for a relatively short time at first, giving you a chance to sensitize to these other sounds without becoming overwhelmed. If you steadily wear your hearing aids in a controlled environment for a few days in a row, you might find yourself acclimating to the sonic environment they provide.
Take a Spin
Once you have become used to your hearing aids in a quiet and controlled home environment, you’re ready to use them in the world. You might want to bring your hearing aids along on a shopping outing, perhaps the grocery store. Once you arrive safely at the store, insert your aids. Take note of the other sounds you hear. If at any point you become overwhelmed, feel free to remove your aids and save them for another time. Once you have used your hearing aids in public settings a few times, you will be ready to wear them in the car. Be sure to try them first when you don’t have any noisy children or pets in the vehicle with you. With the radio off, take to the road with safety at the forefront of your mind. If an emergency vehicle passes, you might be overwhelmed by the volume you now hear, so prepare yourself for the possibility that an ambulance might pass.
Take a Look
If you find that your hearing aids are not giving you the sonic profile you want, you might want to take a look at the settings. Many of the latest hearing aids come with a smartphone app that allows you to set the levels and even to present a few sonic environments suitable to the locations you encounter most often. If you adjust the overall volume or other settings in your aids, you should be able to arrive at a place where they offer you the support you need without overwhelming your senses. Don’t hesitate to contact your provider if you aren’t able to find the right settings for your needs. In many cases, hearing aids will become second nature within a few days, but don’t worry if the process is not that quick for you. With a little patience, you will find the right settings and situations to make your devices serve you best.