Tanya is being measured for a new pair of hearing aids by her hearing specialist. And she’s experiencing a little anxiety. Not, you know, a lot of anxiety. But hearing aids are new to her, and she’s a little worried about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gadget sitting in her ear canal, especially since she’s never been a big fan of earplugs or earbuds.
Tanya’s worries are not unique. Fit and overall comfort are doubts for many first time hearing aid users. Tanya has every intention of wearing her hearing aids. She’s anticipating hearing her son’s music and listening to her television at a level That won’t cause issues with the neighbors. But how comfortable will those hearing aids be?
Adapting to Hearing Aids For The First Time
So, are hearing aids uncomfortable? The short answer is: some people experience them as a little uncomfortable at first. As with many things in life, there’s an adjustment time, which means your early level of comfort will vary. But after a while, you’ll get used to the feeling of your hearing aids and become more comfortable.
Knowing that these adjustments will happen can help alleviate some of the stress. Knowing what you should expect will help you get accustomed to your hearing aids in a healthy, sustainable, and comfortable way.
There are two stages to your adjustment:
- Getting used to a hearing aid in your ear: There might be some moderate physical discomfort when you first begin to wear your hearing aid, and your hearing specialist may suggest you start off wearing your hearing aids for only part of the day. Having said that, there shouldn’t be any pain involved. You should speak with your hearing specialist if your hearing aid is causing pain.
- Adjusting to the enhanced sound quality: Sometimes, it may be the sound quality that you have to adapt to. If you’re like most people, you put off on getting hearing aids, and you’re not used to hearing a full range of sounds anymore. It might sound a bit loud at first or there may be frequencies of sound your not accustomed to hearing. At first, this can be annoying. For instance, one patient complained that he could hear his hair rubbing against his coat. This is normal. After a few weeks, your brain will filter out the noises you don’t want to tune in to.
If either the quality of sound or the physical positioning of the hearing aids is bothering you, it’s critical to speak with your hearing specialist about adjustments to increase your all-around comfort and advance the period of adjustment.
How Can I Increase The Comfort of My Hearing Aids?
Over the years, luckily, there are a few techniques that have worked fairly well.
- Practice: Once you get your hearing aids, the world won’t sound quite the same. And it may take some time for your ears to adapt, specifically when it comes to the spoken word. There are many practices (reading along with an audiobook or watching TV with the closed captions turned on) that can help you get the hang of this a little more quickly.
- Get the right fit: Fitting your ears properly is what hearing aids are made to do. You’ll obviously want to talk about fit with your hearing specialist right off the bat, but you’ll also want to see your hearing specialist for follow-up fittings to be certain everything is working properly and the fit is excellent. You might also want to think about a custom fit hearing aid for maximum comfort and effectiveness.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first pair of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel as though you have to wear them all day, every day right off the bat. You can start gradually and build up from there. From one to four hours per day is a great way to begin. Eventually, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you get comfortable with them.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
For the first few days or weeks, there may be some discomfort with your hearing aids. Before long you’re hearing aids will become a comfortable part of your day to day life and the sooner you make the adjustments, the sooner this will occur. In order to really make that transition, it’s essential that you wear them every day.
Pretty soon, you’ll be focusing on is having good conversation with friends.