Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adjusting to Hearing Aids

It is typical to need time to adjust to hearing aids.  Often people lose hearing slowly. It is so gradual that they don’t notice background sounds fade away and voices soften.  When one uses hearing aids, volume is suddenly restored and it could be overwhelming.  It is similar to the way light is too bright when we wake up during the night and turn on the light.  Just as it takes time to adjust to the bright light at night, the ears take time to adjust to the “bright” sound through hearing aids.
Everything becomes louder than you are use to.  Initially the brain focuses on background noise.  As the brain adjusts to hearing all of noise again, the focus shifts to voices.
At times an audiologist can help ease this adjustment by setting the hearing aids at a softer volume than is needed.  This is similar to using a dimmer switch to ease the eyes’ adjustment to bright light. The volume is then increased at the follow up visits to maximize hearing.
You can help the process by wearing your hearing aids even when home alone.  The more they are worn, the faster the ears and the brain adjust to all of the sounds around you.  If they are worn for just a few hours a day, the adjustment may never occur, limiting the benefits of the hearing aids.   
Here are some dos and don’ts:
1.       Do have realistic expectations.  Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing.  They provide great help but there are times when you will miss some things.
2.       Do stay in quieter situations for the first few days.  Go to a quiet restaurant.  There will be less background noise and it will be easier to adjust to it.
3.       Do understand how your hearing aids work in noisy environments.  Should you sit with your back to noise or do you need to face the noise?
4.       Do watch the face of the speaker. The brain uses all the information you can give it, even lip cues.
5.       Do sit up close to the speaker at a lecture or church service.  You will hear better.
6.       Don’t say “what?” if you miss heard something.  Repeat what you heard, it will help the speaker fill in what was missed, possibly with other words that are easier for you to understand.
7.       Don’t give up. The more you use the hearing aids and work with them the better it becomes.
Even experienced hearing aid wearers find it necessary to adjust to new hearing aids.  The new hearing aids amplify higher frequencies then older ones.  Putting high frequencies back in can improve understanding of words and change the quality of the sound.  Again, time allows the brain to get use to the new sound quality so you can enjoy improved understanding ability.
If you are having difficulty adjusting to hearing aids talk to your audiologist. He or she will be able to help. Click here for a helpful video

Life Sounds Great! Enjoy Every Moment!
Does your voice sound different to you when you wear hearing aids?  Do others feel you talk softer with hearing aids on?  Learn why next week
Jane Kukula, AuD
Paula Webster, MA

Board Certified Audiologists
Advanced Audiology Concepts
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060
Fax: 1-440-205-9818


  1. After using hearing aids you can communicate with your family and friends. This hearing aid is very effective and comfortably fit on your ear.

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    1. The success of your hearing rehabilitation program depends on your acceptance of realistic expectations. Although hearing aid technology has greatly improved over the years, the fact still remains that nothing can mimic human ears. Thanks!

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    2. I agree, hearing aids are the first step to improved communication. Work with an audiologist who is trained to assist with communication and a personalized rehabilitation program.

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