Tanya is being fitted for a new pair of hearing aids by her hearing specialist. And she’s feeling a little anxious. Not, you know, a lot of anxiety. But she’s never had to use hearing aids before, and she’s a little concerned about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gadget sitting in her ears, especially since she’s never been a big fan of earbuds or earplugs.
These worries are not unique to Tanya. Fit and overall comfort are doubts for many new hearing aid users. Tanya has every desire of wearing her hearing aids. Now she won’t need to crank up the TV so loud that it disturbs her family or even the neighbors. But will those hearing aids be comfortable?
How to Adjust When You First Wear Your Hearing Aids
So, are hearing aids uncomfortable? Put simply: some people experience them as a bit uncomfortable when they first use them. As with many things in life, there’s an adjustment time, which means your early level of comfort will fluctuate. But over time, you’ll get used to the feeling of your hearing aids and become more comfortable.
Recognizing that these adjustments will happen can help alleviate some of the stress. Knowing what you should expect can help you acclimate to your hearing aids in a healthy, sustainable, and comfortable way.
Adjusting to your hearing aid has two phases:
- Becoming accustomed to an improved sound quality: In some cases, the improved sound quality takes some getting used to. For the majority of people who have been dealing with hearing loss for some time, it will most likely take some time to get used to hearing a full range of sound. It might sound a bit loud at first or there could be frequencies of sound your not used to hearing. In the beginning, this can be rather distracting. For instance, one patient complained that he could hear his hair rubbing against his jacket. This is normal. After a few weeks, your brain will filter out the noises you don’t want to tune in to.
- Getting used to a hearing aid in your ear: Your hearing specialist might suggest that you start off gradually wearing your hearing aids so you can take some time to become accustomed to the feeling of the device in your ear. Even so, there should not be any pain involved. If you’re feeling pain due to your hearing aid, you should definitely talk to your hearing specialist as soon as you can.
If either the quality of sound or the physical placement of the hearing aids is disturbing you, it’s important to consult your hearing specialist about adjustments to increase your overall comfort and progress the adjustment period.
Can I Make my Hearing Aids More Comfortable?
Luckily, there are a few techniques that have proven to be quite successful over the years.
- Get the right fit: Hearing aids are made to fit your ears properly. It may take several visits with your hearing specialist to get everything functioning and fitting just right. And for maximum effectiveness and comfort, you might want to consider a custom fit hearing aid.
- Practice: Once you get your hearing aids, the world isn’t going to sound quite the same. And it could take some time for your ears to adjust, specifically when it comes to the spoken word. In order to get the hang of it a little more quickly, there are a number of practices you can do like watching a movie with caption or reading along with an audiobook.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first pair of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel like you have to wear them all day, every day right off the bat. You can start gradually and build up from there. Start by wearing your hearing aid for one to four hours a day. Ultimately, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you become comfortable with them.
You’re Hearing Aids Can be 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 day to day life. Wearing them on a daily basis is crucial to make that transition happen.
Before long all you will have to consider is what you hear, not how you hear it.