So, you need hearing aids and you’re wondering what are the common challenges that people face adjusting to hearing aids. Adapting to hearing aids does involve a learning curve and some people may find the process more challenging than others.
Parents of very young deaf children for example may face some unique challenges helping their children adapt. Likewise, the elderly or those who have put up with their hearing loss for a long time may also face some challenges.
However, the great news is that hearing aids can make an enormous difference to your quality of life, your health, and even your financial situation. And how well you overcome the challenges of adjusting to hearing aids depends a lot on your attitude and approach.
Here then is a list of some of the common challenges people face and how you can more easily adapt to better hearing with your new hearing aids.
Choose the right hearing aid for your needs
Some people struggle with their hearing aids because the devices don’t match their lifestyle needs. By choosing a qualified audiologist you can make sure you’re getting the right advice about what hearing aids will best suit you.
Your audiologist will help you choose hearing aids that match your hearing loss test results. You’ll want to think about those things that are important in your life. Asking yourself the following questions will help you clarify some of the aspects that you need to look for in your hearing aids:
- Do you like to spend a lot of time socialising, at restaurants or noisy bars?
- Do you attend concerts and the theatre and rank premium sound quality high on your list of requirements?
- Are work meetings or conferences a large part of your life?
- What connectivity requirements do you need?
Most hearing aid manufacturers produce a range of hearing aids with differing feature offerings. Choosing a hearing aid that cannot do what you want it to do will cause frustration and make your adjustment period more challenging.
Time to make a change
The first challenge for most people adapting to hearing aids is that it does take time. You cannot expect to slip your hearing aid in on the first day and expect everything to sound miraculously and perfectly normal.
It takes time because the hearing aids don’t speak the same language as your brain’s auditory cortex. Your brain needs to learn how to translate the signals from the hearing aids into sounds. Perseverance is the key during this stage.
Begin by wearing your hearing aids for a short period every day and gradually increase the number of hours you wear them.
Dealing with background noise
Background noise can be a significant challenge for some people. Traditional hearing aids couldn’t distinguish between sounds such as a vacuum cleaner in the background, someone standing next to you and talking, and a group of people chatting nearby. And so the old hearing aids amplified all the sounds.
Modern hearing aids reduce this background noise with a number of technical features. Directional microphones amplify sounds only in a certain area—usually the people speaking directly to you. This reduces the impact of those background noises.
Most modern hearing aids monitor your noise environment and adjust this band of amplification automatically. Complex computer chips and algorithms make around 40 million calculations each second to amplify the speech sounds you want to hear and reduce the sounds you don’t.
Many smart generation hearing aids such as the Widex Evoke learn every time you adjust the settings.
Does my voice really sound like that?
A common problem is that hearing aids can make your voice sound a little tinny. This often occurs if you’ve experienced hearing loss in the high frequency ranges. When your hearing aid reintroduces those frequencies, it can take your brain by surprise. After all, it may not have heard those sounds for a long time.
Be encouraged; it’s a sure sign your hearing aids are doing their job. And you will soon accept those sounds as normal. You can help the process along by really focusing on the quality of people’s voices, especially your own. Hone in on the what makes your voice different from other voices.
Training your brain like this will help you adapt to your hearing aids much faster.
Challenges for small children
Helping very small children adapt to their hearing aids may be challenging if they’re not able to tell you what they’re hearing or experiencing. You need to observe the child carefully for cues such as jumping or crying in the presence of noise.
You may not always know whether the child is simply tired or struggling with the wrong hearing aid setting. If in doubt, talk to your audiologist. And remember, whatever the challenges involved, giving your children the gift of hearing is really precious.
Wearing hearing aids in the beginning can be tiring. Your brain is having to process lots of sounds it hasn’t heard in a long time and it can easily become overloaded. If you’re feeling tired take your hearing aids out and have a break.
Gradually increase the amount of time you wear your aids. You’ll soon build up your listening muscles and begin to feel really comfortable with your new hearing aids.
I don’t understand all the settings
Modern hearing aids offer so many innovative features that make your life easier. It can be a challenge for new hearing aid users to learn how to make the most of those features, especially if you’re not so familiar with modern technology.
Your audiologist or technician will help get the most your of your devices. And don’t be afraid to try different settings and explore the full feature set of your new devices. Doing this will help you adapt to your hearing aids faster and you’ll soon feel really comfortable with the amazing range of ways that hearing aids can make life sound better than ever.
House of Hearing—we’re here to help you with the sounds that matter.