Tanya is sitting with her audiologist, being fitted for her very first set of hearing aids. And she’s feeling a little anxious. Her anxiety isn’t actually that bad. But she’s never used hearing aids before, and she’s somewhat stressed about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gizmo sitting in her ears, particularly because she’s not a big fan of earpods or earplugs.
Tanya’s concerns are not unusual. Many first-time hearing aid users have concerns about the overall fit and comfort of their hearing aids. Tanya has every intention of wearing her hearing aids. She’s looking forward to hearing her son’s jokes and listening to her television at a volume That won’t cause problems with the neighbors. But how comfortable will those hearing aids be?
How to Adapt When You First Use Your Hearing Aids
So, are hearing aids uncomfortable? Put simply: some people find them to be a bit uncomfortable when they first use them. Early levels of comfort will fluctuate because, as with many things in life, there’s an adjustment period. But you will get more comfortable after a while as you get acquainted with your hearing aids.
Knowing that these adjustments will occur can help alleviate some of the concerns. Knowing what to expect can help you get accustomed to your hearing aids in a sustainable, healthy, and comfortable way.
Adjusting to your hearing aid includes two phases:
- Adjusting to the improved sound quality: In some cases, it may be the sound quality that you have to adjust to. For the majority of people who have been coping with hearing loss for a long time, it will probably take some time to get used to hearing a full range of sound. When you first start wearing your hearing aids, it might sound a little bit loud, or you may hear sounds that you aren’t used to hearing. At first, this can be somewhat distracting. For instance, one patient complained that he could hear his hair rubbing against his coat. This is normal. In a short period of time, your brain will make the necessary adjustments to sounds it doesn’t need to hear.
- Getting used to a hearing aid in your ear: Your audiologist may suggest that you start off slowly wearing your hearing aids so you can have a little time to get accustomed to how the device feels in your ear. However, there should not be any pain involved. You should speak with your audiologist if your hearing aid is causing pain.
If either the sound quality or the physical placement of the hearing aids is annoying you, it’s essential to speak with your audiologist about adjustments to improve your overall comfort and progress the adjustment period.
Can I Make my Hearing Aids More Comfortable?
Over the years, fortunately, there are a few techniques that have worked fairly well.
- Practice: The world may sound just a little bit different after you get your hearing aids. Adapting to sound, particularly speech, could take a while. In order to get the hang of it a little more quickly, there are a number of exercises you can do like watching a movie with caption or reading along with an audiobook.
- Get the right fit: Hearing aids are made to fit your ears well. You’ll obviously want to discuss your fit with your audiologist right away but you’ll also want to see your audiologist for follow-up fittings to be sure everything is working correctly and the fit is perfect. You may also want to consider a custom-fit hearing aid for optimal effectiveness and comfort.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first set of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel like you have to wear them all day, every day at first. You can take your time and work your way up to it. From one to four hours per day is a good way to begin. Ultimately, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you get comfortable with them.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
Your hearing aids might feel a little awkward for the first few days or weeks. But the faster you adapt to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your everyday life. In order to make that transition, it’s essential that you wear them every day.
Pretty soon, you’ll be focusing on is having good conversation with friends.