First Timer’s Guide: How to Get Used to Hearing Aids
Have you had a hearing test and been told you need hearing aids?
Hearing aids are the most common form of hearing aid treatment but do take a while to get used to if you’re a first-time wearer.
Along with learning how hearing aids work, you’re also dealing with new sounds and stimuli your brain has forgotten.
This article will discuss what hearing aids do, the different types of hearing aids and six ways how you can get used to your new hearing aids.
What Do Hearing Aids Do?
Hearing aids are small electronic devices that amplify sounds. They have three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier and speaker.
The hearing aid receives the sound from the environment through the microphone, converting the sound into electrical signals and sending them to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the electrical signals and sends them to the ear through the speaker.
Once the signals are in the ear, the remaining hair cells in the cochlea detect the vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are then passed on to the brain via the auditory nerve to be perceived as sound.
Different Types of Hearing Aids
There are a range of different hearing aids on the market. The type of hearing loss you choose will depend on your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
BTE hearing aids are the most common type of hearing aids. Behind-the-ear hearing aids have the electronics housed in a casing behind the ear. The casing is then attached to a tube attached to a little piece of rubber that sits in the ear canal.
Sound is picked up by the microphone and sent through the tubing to the ear.
BTE hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to profound hearing loss.
ITE aids are custom hearing aids made up of one part that sits in the ear, commonly chosen by those who wear glasses or want a more subtle hearing aid.
In-the-ear hearing aids either fill half of the ear bowl (half-shell) or the full bowl of the ear (full-shell). Because of their size, these hearing aids are often susceptible to feedback.
ITE hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
RIC hearing aids are much like BTE aids. However, the sound is funnelled via a wire instead of tubing into the ear.
Receiver-in-canal hearing aids are favoured from a cosmetic point of view as it’s incredibly discreet and flexible in terms of fitting.
RIC hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
In-The-Canal (ITC) & Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)
ITC hearing aids are custom-made and fit partly in the ear canal, while IIC hearing aids sit very deep in the ear canal and are invisible.
These hearing aids are popular amongst those who want a small and discreet style.
In-the-canal and invisible-in-canal hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
CIC hearing aids are moulded to sit deep in the ear canal.
Completely-in-canal hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Tips for Getting Used to Hearing Aids
Now that we’ve established the different types of hearing aids and which hearing losses they’re suitable for, let’s discuss how to get used to hearing aids as a first-time wearer.
1. Wear them at home to begin with
The best way to start getting used to new hearing aids is by wearing them at home or in other quiet environments.
Focus on having one-on-one conversations and let your friends and family know you’re using your new hearing aids so they can help.
Another thing to get used to your new hearing aids is to read aloud or talk to your pet to help you get used to your voice.
2. Slowly increase the amount of time you wear them
Wear your hearing aids for a few hours the first day, then a few more hours the next day.
Gradually increase the number of hours you wear your hearing aids each day and change up the situations in which you wear them. For example, one day you could wear them in a quiet environment, such as your house, then the next day you could go to a cafe.
3. Anticipate some frustration
If you have been putting off hearing aids for a while and haven’t heard well for a long time, wearing hearing aids for the first time will flood your ears with sounds you haven’t heard.
Due to the overload of sounds, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. This is because your brain has forgotten how to sort out background noise and prioritise certain sounds over others.
When getting hearing aids for the first time, you’ll have to teach yourself how to ignore the background noise and be patient while your brain adjusts.
4. Report any pain
Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may have custom-fitted earmoulds, which should fit comfortably in your ears.
They may cause a bit of tenderness at first, but that should ease. If they cause pain, book an appointment with your audiologist immediately so they can fix the problem.
5. Clean and maintain them
When you get hearing aids for the first time, your audiologist will go over basic cleaning and maintenance practices.
Depending on your style of hearing aid, the cleaning and maintenance required will vary.
However, it’s important to clean your hearing aids and remove earwax from them after every use. Wax and moisture can damage your hearing aids and affect their function.
When you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, keep them in a dry and safe place.
6. Attend follow-up appointments
Chances are when you get hearing aids for the first time, they’ll need a few adjustments.
So, one of the best things you can do is attend as many follow-up appointments as you need to fine-tune the sounds your hearing, adjust the fit of the hearing aid and discuss the most challenging situations with your audiologist.
Most people visit their audiologist two weeks after their first hearing aid fitting to get them fine-tuned and adjust the volume if needed.
In A Nutshell
The experience you have when first getting hearing aids will be a strange one, but worth it if it’s going to help you hear things again.
You can do many things to get used to hearing aids as a first-time wearer, such as wearing them at home, to begin with, slowly increasing the amount of time you wear them, attending follow-up appointments, and more.
If you’re looking for quality hearing aids at affordable prices, look no further than EarDeals. We offer a wide range of hearing aids from global manufacturers to suit all levels of hearing loss.
If you aren’t sure which hearing aid is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our hearing aid brokers have years of experience and are happy to help you find a hearing aid to suit your hearing loss and lifestyle.