Tanya is visiting her hearing specialist, being measured for her very first pair of hearing aids. And she’s experiencing a little anxiety. Not, you know, a lot of anxiety. But she’s never used hearing aids before, and she’s somewhat concerned about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gadget sitting in her ear canal, particularly since she’s never been a huge fan of earplugs or earbuds.
Tanya’s concerns are not unique. Fit and general comfort are worries for many new hearing aid users. Tanya wants to use her hearing aid. Now she won’t need to crank up the TV so loud that it bothers her family or even her neighbors. But how comfortable are those hearing aids going to be?
How to Adjust When You First Use Your Hearing Aids
So, is wearing hearing aids uncomfortable? The short answer is: some people experience them as a bit uncomfortable when they first use them. Early comfort levels will fluctuate because, as with many things in life, there’s a period of adjustment. But in time, you’ll get used to the feeling of your hearing aids and become more comfortable.
Recognizing that these adjustments are coming can help alleviate some of the concerns. Knowing what you should expect will help your adjustment period be easier.
There are two stages to your adjustment:
- Adjusting to how your hearing aid feels: There could be some slight physical discomfort when you first start to wear your hearing aid, and your hearing specialist may recommend 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 get in touch with your hearing specialist if your hearing aid is causing pain.
- Becoming accustomed to a higher quality of sound: In some cases, the improved sound quality takes some adjusting to. If you’re like most people, you waited to get hearing aids, and you’re not used to hearing a full array of sounds anymore. When you begin wearing your hearing aids, it might sound a little loud, or you might hear sounds that you aren’t used to hearing. Initially, this can be disruptive. One of our readers complained, for instance, that he could hear his hair scraping against his jacket whenever he moved his head. This isn’t abnormal. In a short period of time, your brain will make the appropriate adjustments to noises it doesn’t need to hear.
In order to enhance your overall comfort and quicken the adjustment period, contact your hearing specialist if you are having trouble with the physical placement or sound quality of your hearing aids.
How Can I Increase The Comfort of My Hearing Aids?
Fortunately, there are a few techniques that have proven to be rather effective over the years.
- Get the right fit: Hearing aids are made to fit your ears well. It might take a few consultations with your hearing specialist to get everything functioning and fitting just right. You might also want to consider a custom fit hearing aid for optimal effectiveness and comfort.
- Practice: The world may sound quite a bit different after you get your hearing aids. Adapting to sound, especially speech, may take a while. There are many practices (reading along with an audiobook or watching your favorite movie with the closed captions on) that can help you get the hang of this a little faster.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first set of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel like you have to wear them all day, every day at first. You can build up to that. From one to four hours every day is a great way to start. Ultimately, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you become comfortable with them.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
Your hearing aids may feel a little uncomfortable for the first few days or weeks. But the faster you adjust to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your daily life. Wearing them on a daily basis is essential to make that transition happen.
Before long all you will have to think about is what you hear, not how you hear it.