Congratulations for taking that big step in the right direction and treating your hearing loss.
So now you’re wondering, “what can I expect?” You can expect a lot and possibly some frustrations too, that’s normal. Here are 8 tips just for you – our first-time hearing aid wearer.
Hearing aids are not like glasses. With a new pair of glasses, you immediately see images more clearly. Because hearing loss is usually a gradual process, your brain needs time to readjust to interpreting those sounds you haven’t heard in some time. That means some sounds may seem unusually loud, like a clock ticking or maybe the turn signal in your car.
Or, you might try to figure out what in the heck is that noise?! One person new to wearing hearing aids told us he couldn’t figure out the squeaking noise every time he walked into a certain room. He finally realized it was the hard wood floors squeaking and didn’t realize they made a noise. The longer you wear your hearing aids the better you’ll get at identifying sounds, interpreting voices and focusing on what you’re hearing.
You might want to take it slow, too. It’s okay to wear your hearing aids for a few hours a day to adjust. Although, eventually you’ll want to wear them during your full waking hours. And, you’ll able to detect and filter more sounds.
Before getting hearing aids, how many times did your partner or friends tell you to stop shouting? Too many to count, am I right? With hearing loss, it’s natural to talk louder, but now that you are wearing hearing aids, you can now regulate your voice.
Practice by reading a good book or maybe the newspaper out loud. It will help you to recognize the sounds of words and speech again. You may even want to enlist the help of your spouse or friend – you know, the one who told you to stop shouting – to listen in as you read and adjust.
You might even want to keep a hearing journal, so you can jot down notes on how you are progressing and what you are hearing. It’s also fun to take a look back at how well you are doing.
You’re probably thinking, “Wait a second, I got hearing aids so I don’t need to watch TV with captions." That's true. However, watching TV with closed captioning or subtitles helps retrain your brain to connect sounds and language. As you watch the movie and hear the sounds, your brain is able to make the connection again. Plus, you might even be thinking, “Is that what she said?”
Your hearing aids may have an automatic adjustment to different listening situations, so they shouldn’t need to be manually adjusted very often. If you do turn them up, don’t crank up the volume. Don’t try to make your hearing aids do what fully-functioning ears can’t do, like hear faint sounds from very far away. They don’t work that way.
There are some housekeeping rules to keep your hearing aids safe. First, whenever you are not wearing them, place them in a carrying case or back in your charger. Never place your hearing aids on a countertop or in your pocket. Remember your retainer in junior high? It’s like that. No one wants to start going through the garbage can. Plus, pets … and some times toddlers … love to use hearing devices as chew toys.
Second, keep them clean. If your hearing aids came with a dry cloth and cleaning accessories, use them to gently wipe your hearing aids routinely. And, make sure you change out the wax guard.
Lastly, remember to put your aids in the charger at night like you do your smartphone. It will keep them working optimally and give you a full day of hearing.
You should wait 30 minutes after showering or swimming before putting your hearing aids back into your ear. The ear canal needs to be as dry as possible to prevent moisture from steaming up your hearing devices.
Also, don’t stick anything in your ear – other than your hearing aids – like a cotton swab. Ear wax is normal and important. It stops dust and other harmful particles from entering your canals. Sticking cotton swabs, bobby pins or even your finger means you risk damaging your ear drum. If you find that the wax has become impacted, reach out to a hearing care professional. They can safely remove the wax.
Speaking of hearing care professionals, sometimes you may need to reach out to a provider. They have the technical skill set and the equipment to support you with your hearing aids. And, they will be able to assist you on your hearing journey. So, partnering with one may be a good idea whether you have now or may need to do so down the line.
And, the No. 1 tip is to make sure you read the owner’s manual. Just like any piece of technology, make sure you review the user guide that comes with your hearing aids. It has helpful tips and often trouble shooting. And, if you still are having issues, check out the website which will be noted in the user guide or look at tip No. 7.
Like any new technology or device, it requires you getting to know and using the device to help you understand and manage your expectations of how it help you. Hopefully these tips will do just that with your new All-Day Clear hearing aids!