Getting used to your hearing aids

Do spend some time getting used to your hearing aids and learning how to operate the controls, if any (some hearing aids are fully automatic and have no user controls). Your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser should already have demonstrated these to you.
You will find it helpful to practise putting your hearing aids in your ears and taking them out . This might seem tricky at first, but it should get much easier over time.
Once you start using your hearing aids, you’ll probably notice that things sound different. It may have been some time since your brain was able to process sounds as well as it can with the help of your hearing aids – so it could take a while to get used to what you are hearing now.
One of the first things you might notice is the sound of your own voice. It may not sound quite like you to begin with! However, you should soon adapt to hearing your voice through the hearing aids; and within a few hours you may not notice the difference at all. Being able to hear your own voice is important in maintaining its tone and clarity.

 You will almost certainly find it easier to build up hearing aid use gradually.   So start by wearing your hearing aids for short periods – say a few hours every day.

Once you have got used to the hearing aids in this way, you can gradually increase the number of hours you wear them for each day. Some people find this takes just a few days, while others need a good while longer before they can comfortably wear their hearing aids for long periods of time.
It is much easier to get used to the hearing aids in quiet surroundings. So, first try wearing your hearing aids at home — perhaps while watching TV, listening to the radio or talking to your family.
Once you’re comfortable in these situations, you can try using your hearing aids in places where it’s a little noisier, such as your kitchen during meal times perhaps.
It is a good idea to make sure you’re able to listen comfortably in most situations at home before trying to use your hearing aids outside, and it may take some time before you feel ready to use them at a dinner party, or in a busy street for example. However, do persevere and have patience, as things will get easier with time.
Here’s a chart to give an idea of how you could build up hearing aid use over a two-week period (and beyond). Remember that everyone progresses at their own rate, so this is intended as a guide only:
Day 1
Your own voice may sound a little strange, and you may notice more background sounds around the house.
Start by using your hearing aids at home where it is quiet for just a couple of hours or so on the first day. Try listening to the TV on your own, or talking to just one other person, say. You may find that any background noises seem intrusive and difficult to make out.
Days 2-4
Try using the hearing aids for about an hour longer each day.
Hopefully, you’ll find that listening becomes a little easier each day. Try using the hearing aids in noisier rooms of the home as well, such as the kitchen. You might even care to venture into the garden or just outside your house.
Days 5-14
Each day, try to increase the time you use your hearing aids by a further hour, say. You might want to wear them for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon.
As time goes by, you’ll get more used to the hearing aids and in turn get more benefit. So, try using them outdoors for a while – but don’t forget to take out your hearing aids if you’re going to get wet, such as at the hairdressers or when swimming!
Day 14 onwards
Try working towards using the hearing aids throughout the day, from early morning to last thing at night. But don’t get disheartened if you cannot progress at this pace – better to get real benefit during the periods in which you feel able to wear the hearing aids.
Remember, it can take a couple of months or so for your brain to get used to all the background sounds again. The world may be noisier than you remember! As the weeks pass, concentrate on focussing on what you want to hear and trying to ignore background sounds.
During this learning period, we suggest you use the opens a new windowon-line diary to record how you get on with your hearing aids, and any issues that arise. In this way, you’ll be better able to identify things you find difficult, and issues that you might raise with the audiologist/dispenser at a follow up appointment. You’ll find it helpful to print off a copy for each week that you wish to record.

opens a new window Click here for some important points to bear in mind while getting used to your hearing aids

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