Remember your last pair of new shoes? You try them on in the store, they fit well and they feel fine. But then, by the end of the first day that you wore them all day, your feet were sore, there were rub spots, and at some point during the day you wished for your old shoes. Remember?
It can be the same when you first start wearing hearing aids. You are aware of them on your head or in your ears, your ears may itch, sweat or just feel different with the hearing aids on, and by the end of the first day, you long for your ears to be free again.
That’s a totally normal reaction. So let’s talk about the different ways to adjust to the physical fit of the hearing aids, things you can do to ensure their comfort, and realistic expectations for wearing hearing aids.
The hearing aid style matters
There are two basic styles of hearing aids: those that fit over the ear (called “standard”) and those that fit in the ear (called “custom”). Let’s start with those that fit in the ear.
Custom hearing aids are molded to fit in your specific ear. Having something in your ear for the first time can feel strange. But if you have physical discomfort, pain or a rub spot, you should tell your hearing healthcare professional right away. Many times, the professional can modify the aid right in the office and check the physical fit for you.
For standard hearing aids, you’ll have a piece that goes behind your ear, which is then connected to an ear bud that goes in your ear. Ear buds come in multiple sizes. If the bud is physically uncomfortable, your hearing healthcare professional can change the size of the bud to find one that is more comfortable. Your professional may recommend a custom mold for your device to provide more comfort and a more secure fit than an ear bud.
Some people initially react to the device being behind their ear or the tubing/wire that comes down into their ear. Your professional can make sure that the tubing/wire is the correct length and can modify the shape to have it fit more securely and minimize rubbing.
Give yourself time
Like new shoes, it takes a little time getting used to hearing aids. Being aware of their presence on your ears can be disconcerting. The best way to adjust is to wear the aids as much as possible. You should wear your hearing aids six to eight hours per day. Wearing them less than that will not allow you to become “used” to the feel of them.
If the hearing aids are uncomfortable as soon as you put them on, make sure they are inserted correctly. Remove the aids and reinsert. Many people find putting the aids on in front of a mirror allows them to see if they are on are correctly. Some people will put a small amount of baby oil over the opening of the ear to allow the hearing aids to slip in more easily. It is important to use only a small amount and keep the oil away from the openings in the hearing aid.
If your ears itch from wearing the aids, check with your professional about using a product like Miracell. Miracell is a liquid that can be placed on the ear bud or mold to decrease the itchy feeling inside your ear. Your hearing professional can show you how to use it without damaging your hearing aids. It is very important to use it correctly or the speaker of the hearing aid could be damaged.
Set realistic expectations
The reality is that you do have something in your ears, so feeling them there is normal. But if you give it time and break them in, not feeling them should be normal in just a month or two. If you encounter any concerns, let your hearing healthcare professional know right away. They can adjust them, provide additional tips, and try alternatives with you.
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