Tanya is sitting with her hearing specialist, being measured for her very first set of hearing aids. And she’s feeling a little anxious. Her anxiety isn’t really that bad. But she’s never had to use hearing aids before, and she’s somewhat worried about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gizmo inside of her ear canal, particularly since she’s never been a big fan of earbuds or earplugs.
These concerns are not unique to Tanya. Countless first-time hearing aid users have doubts about the comfort and overall fit of their hearing aids. Tanya has every desire of wearing her hearing aids. She’s anticipating hearing her son’s music and listening to her TV at a level That won’t cause issues with the neighbors. But how comfortable will those hearing aids be?
Adjusting 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 lots of things in life, there’s an adjustment period, meaning your initial level of comfort will fluctuate. But you will feel more comfortable after a while as you become accustomed to your hearing aids.
Recognizing that these adjustments will occur can help alleviate some of the anxiety. Knowing what to expect will help your adjustment period be easier.
Adapting to your hearing aid includes two phases:
- Becoming accustomed to a higher quality of sound: Sometimes, it may be the sound quality that you need to adjust to. For the majority of people who have been dealing with hearing loss for some time, it will probably take a while to get used to hearing a full assortment of sound. When you first start using your hearing aids, it might sound a little bit loud, or you might hear frequencies that you aren’t used to hearing. Initially, this can be distracting. For instance, one patient reported that he could hear his hair rubbing against his jacket. This is typical. After a few weeks, your brain will block out the noises you don’t want to pay attention to.
- Getting used to a hearing aid in your ear: Your hearing specialist might recommend that you start off slowly wearing your hearing aids so you can have a little time to get used to the feeling of the device in your ear. Even so, there should not be any pain involved. You should consult with your hearing specialist if your hearing aid is causing pain.
If either the quality of sound or the physical positioning of the hearing aids is bothering you, it’s essential to consult your hearing specialist about adjustments to increase your general comfort and progress the adjustment period.
How Can I Increase The Comfort of My Hearing Aids?
Over the years, luckily, there are a few techniques that have worked pretty well.
- Get the right fit: Fitting your ears properly is what hearing aids are made to do. You’ll absolutely 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 make certain everything is working properly and the fit is just right. And for optimal comfort and effectiveness, you might want to think about a custom fit hearing aid.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first set of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel as though you have to wear them all day, every day right off the bat. You can build up to that. From one to four hours per day is a good way to start. With that being said, you’ll want to work up to wearing your hearing aids all day, but you don’t have to begin there.
- Practice: The world may sound just a little bit different after you get your hearing aids. Adjusting to sound, specifically speech, might take some time. There are many techniques (reading along with an audiobook or watching TV with the closed captions turned on) that can help you get better at this a little more quickly.
You’re Hearing Aids Can be More Comfortable
Your hearing aids may feel a little awkward for the first few days or weeks. But the more quickly you adapt to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your day to day life. Wearing them on a daily basis is essential to make that transition work.
Before you know it, you’ll be thinking about is having good conversation with friends.