Serving Patients in Western North Carolina since 1981
Advice for Adjusting to New Hearing Aids
New hearing aids take a little time to adjust to. You’ll probably have some questions once you start incorporating them into your everyday life, that’s what we’re here for.
When you have a hearing loss and have not heard to your full ability for an extended period of time, your brain becomes accustomed to hearing sounds at a lower volume.
At the first flick of the switch, turning your hearing aids on can feel like a tidal wave of incoming sound. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, your ears and your brain will learn to adjust – this is why the majority of locations that sell hearing aids offer a risk-free trial period to make sure you are getting the quality you need.
Here are some common questions that we hear all the time from new hearing aid users, along with some ways to help ease your mind during that adjustment period:
”My voice sounds strange to me”
It’s possible that your own voice might sound slightly different to you when you first start wearing hearing aids. This happens because hearing aids amplify all sounds, even your own voice. You’ll get used to it after a brief adjustment period. Many hearing aids can be adjusted for different pitch levels to help filter the sound you want to hear from the sounds you don’t.
“My ears feel like they’re blocked.”
Also known as the “occlusion effect,” this is when you feel as if your ears are clogged. Most hearing aids allow air to pass through them into your ear through a vent which will help you adjust to the feeling of your new hearing aids after a short time. This is why most new hearing aid users go for a discreet pair of RIC (Receiver-in-Canal) or Open-fit hearing aids – so as to reduce the blockage.
“Will others be able to see that I have hearing aids?”
Hearing aid manufacturing is always a challenge. Manufacturers have to put a microphone, microchip processor, amplifier, and speaker into a very tiny area. Luckily, technology has advanced as fast as smartphones have. Today’s hearing aids are more discreet than ever.
Your level of hearing loss will also play into the size and power of the hearing aids you’ll need. With a range of devices that go from completely in the ear canal (CIC), to partially in-the-ear, or even ones that rest behind your ear, hearing aids are typically designed with invisibility in mind.
“My hearing aids are whistling.”
Certain noises may cause a loud, whistling sound from your hearing aids once in a while. It usually happens when you first put them in before having them tuned by a professional. It can also happen while getting dressed from pulling the shirt over your head. This is called audio feedback – a topic we dig into deeper in our article called What You Need to Know About Feedback Cancellation.
“I feel pressure in my ears.”
It’s not unusual to feel some pressure – and even a little soreness – as you get used to wearing your new hearing aids. While a brief adjustment period is normal, you should contact your hearing care professional if the pressure doesn’t go away after a few days – or if you feel pain in your ear at any time.
“Everything is too loud.”
One of the biggest responses we hear from individuals after getting fitted for hearing aids is high volume. In a survey of 3000+ individuals with hearing loss, this was the biggest issue facing new hearing aid users.
Your brain needs some time to remember how you used to hear. Try wearing them for just a few hours at a time for the first few days if it becomes too much to handle. Remember to build up gradually and pace yourself.
You may also want to avoid noisy environments with your new hearing aids for a bit until you are used to them in quieter settings. Take some time to sit in your home and appreciate all the new sounds around you.
This will help you before taking on those loud restaurants or parties, making the adjustment to new social situations easier. Talk to your hearing care professional to create a plan to help you adjust to hearing the sounds you have been missing.
“I need hearing aids. Where do I start?”
The best way to start is speaking with one of our hearing consultants. They can assist you in scheduling a visit with a local Audiologist, ENT or Hearing Center in your area. Once there, you will have your ears properly examined and receive a hearing screening to determine if hearing aids are the solution for you or a loved one.
Take a break.
Your new hearing aids have likely opened up a whole new world of sounds to you – and sometimes new users report that those sounds seem very loud! Suddenly noises you used to have trouble hearing – things like water running in the sink, a clicking keyboard, or the roar of distant traffic – can seem very noticeable.
This is exactly what you want from your new hearing aids – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sometimes a bit overwhelming at first. Always remember to talk to your hearing care professional if sounds are too overwhelming. They are there to support you!