It’s important to set reasonable expectations for new hearing aids — and for yourself — so you don’t get overwhelmed by the sounds you couldn’t hear before. Many first-time hearing aid wearers expect their hearing to return to “normal,” however, nothing can reproduce perfect or “normal” hearing. Realistically, hearing aids will improve your hearing and listening abilities by modifying the sounds around you.
Better hearing isn’t just about amplifying volume; it’s about your ear’s ability to hear sounds and your brain’s ability to process and comprehend those sounds. Most hearing aids use Digital Signal Processing (DSP). Digital hearing aids help the user distinguish between speech and non-speech sounds. By identifying and lowering the volume of background noise, the listener can hear voice patterns more clearly. The better the hearing aid technology, the more secondary noise filtered out. This helps keep you engaged in and attuned to conversations, even in noisy situations.
As hearing loss usually occurs over time, many people are unaware of the background sounds they can no longer hear. When you first start wearing hearing aids, you may feel overwhelmed by what you can suddenly hear again.
Don’t get frustrated! Give yourself time to adjust to those new sounds. As the brain learns to interpret sounds correctly again, you should practice concentrating on sounds or voices most important to you. The most important part is to wear them. The longer you wear your hearing aids the quicker your brain will adjust. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break!
Adjusting to your own voice
Your own voice may sound strange to you when you first get hearing aids. That’s not surprising because hearing aids change the way you hear yourself. You are hearing yourself through the bones and through the hearing aids. To help get used to this new sound, spend some time alone and read aloud wearing your hearing aids.
Practice connecting sounds and words
Listening and reading words at the same time retrains your brain to connect sounds and language. Here are three simple ways to go about it. 1. Turn on your television’s closed captioning and read the subtitles while you watch and listen to a movie. 2. Listen to an audiobook while you read the printed book. 3. Have someone read a newspaper or magazine article to you while you follow along with your own copy.
Learn to ignore background noise
Hearing aids cannot completely block unwanted noises, especially when you first start wearing them. Even people with normal hearing find it difficult to hear in noisy situations. According to the Better Hearing Institute, the ability to tolerate these noises gets better with time for those with hearing aids.
Modern hearing aids can automatically select the appropriate volume when they are switched on. If you adjust the volume manually, do not make it too loud. This rarely helps with understanding Theatres, places of worship, conference halls can present an acoustic challenge for hearing aid users. Ideally, you should find a seat in the section with the best acoustics. It is usually located in the front and center of the room. Do not sit too close to the speaker, but close enough to see his or her face. Some public places have special technical equipment to make hearing and understanding easier. Just ask in advance or when you get there. Adjusting the volume to the situation
Take advantage of technology
Hearing aids now have the ability to wirelessly connect with other electronic devices. Hearing aids with this capability can be linked to cell phones, computers, microphones, audio systems, and other compatible electronics so that the sounds being emitted (like the voices on a cell phone) can be sent directly to your hearing aid, further improving the clarity with which you hear these devices
Fitting is an ongoing process
You will need to meet with your hearing health expert several times during the initial adjustment period. Your hearing specialist needs to monitor your progress and adjust the controls of your hearing aid(s), as needed. These follow-up visits are crucial to your success with learning to hear again
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