In addition to simply wearing your new hearing aids as much as possible, here are some additional things you can do to help increase your comfort and enhance your enjoyment during that all-important first month.
Week One with your new hearing aids
- If necessary, choose a quiet environment to begin using your hearing aids. You might not want to wear your new hearing aids in crowded or noisy environments until you have adjusted to them in your own home.
- Listen carefully to the many forgotten sounds in your home, like the refrigerator, furnace, or the sound of turning the pages of a book or magazine. You will get used to hearing them again.
- Practice having a conversation with your spouse or loved one. Make sure your television and radio are turned off. Facing each other, sit no more than seven feet apart. Practice looking at the speaker’s mouth. Remember, much of communication is visual.
- Practice reading out loud. You will slowly adjust to the loudness of your speech while wearing your hearing aids. It is normal at first for your voice to sound different. Don’t worry, soon it will sound familiar again.
- Practice listening to the different speech patterns of different people. The goal is to find a comfortable volume level for listening, not to try and understand everything that is being said. Hearing and understanding improves with time.
- If you become fatigued, take a break. Put your hearing aids back on a couple of hours later.
- Practice getting used to your new hearing aids a little every day. Be patient. Do not wear your hearing aids all day long during this period. Your progress will depend on your commitment to hearing better.
Week Two with your new hearing aids
- Gradually increase the time you spend wearing your hearing aids each day.
- Wear your hearing aids while listening to the television (which is more difficult than it seems). Practicing watching television will make other difficult listening situations easier.
- Practice increasing the distance between you and whoever is speaking without adjusting the volume of your hearing aids.
- Participate in conversations with two other people at a time in quiet surroundings. Don’t worry if you can’t understand both of them. Try focusing on one at a time. Remember, even a normal-hearing person has trouble understanding when several people are talking at the same time.
- If you become fatigued, take your hearing aids out for a while, but always put them back in. Do not give up. Like learning a sport or playing a musical instrument, becoming proficient requires daily practice.
Week Three with your new hearing aids
- If you haven’t already, wear your hearing aids in louder, more crowded places and for longer periods of time.
- Wear them to work, worship, social events, meetings, and restaurants. Wear them in your car, at the grocery store, and when you run errands. By learning to wear your hearing aids in your daily routine, your brain will soon “tune out” the normal noises you initially may find irritating.
- In listening environments with background noise, concentrate on the speaker. Over time, your brain will subconsciously categorize sounds and will tune out background noise and focus on the speaker.
- Call your hearing healthcare professional with any questions you have during this process. They understand the difficulties you face dealing with your hearing journey and are there to help.
- And remember, there will be situations where it’s difficult to hear even for normal-hearing individuals.
By the end of these few weeks, wearing your hearing aids should come naturally and NOT feel strange. You got this!