Hearing aids are a game changer for people who, in many cases, have spent years struggling to hear. Treating a hearing loss improves your ability to engage with others and enjoy the “listening pleasures” of life… music, a good joke, or the birds chirping in the morning (spring is on its way, right?). But getting used to hearing aids takes time, so it’s important to know what to expect.
1. The world is a noisy place. With an untreated hearing loss, your brain starts to assume the world is a quiet place. It forgets that your car tires on the road are noisy, that a running faucet can be pretty loud, and that those old hardwood steps creak as you walk down them. At first, with new hearing aids, these sounds tend to grab your attention, but as you adjust, your brain resets to the ‘new normal’, and these sounds begin to seem natural.
2. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing. With hearing loss, not only are we dealing with a loss of volume, but often a loss of clarity. Over time, your hearing nerve can begin sending a distorted signal, making speech less clear. Hearing aids work really well to restore volume, but clarity is more difficult. More advanced hearing aids have added features to help maximize speech, but this distortion presents some limitations in noisy environments.
3. Wear them for all waking hours. Wearing hearing aids part time doesn’t allow your brain time to reset to a ‘new normal.’ Take them off for sleeping, showering, and when you’re around loud noise (like a lawn mower or power tools), but wearing them for the rest of the day will have a huge impact on how well you adjust.
The time it takes to adjust to hearing aids is different for everyone, but once you’ve gotten through that adjustment phase, hearing aids are a huge help in improving communication and quality of life.