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Adjusting to Hearing Aids

19 April 2023

It takes time

Are you struggling with hearing loss? Are you considering hearing aids? It’s important to know that adjusting to hearing aids is a process, and it’s not something that happens overnight. Your brain needs time to adapt to the new sounds that you will be hearing with your hearing aids. In fact, auditory acclimatization is a phenomenon in which the performance with hearing aids improves after several weeks of use. 

According to Arlinger et al (1996), auditory acclimatization is defined as a systematic change in auditory performance with time, linked to a change in the availability of acoustic information. This means that while there is an initial improvement in hearing when you first use hearing aids, extended use will lead to further improvement in performance. Your brain will get used to hearing new sounds and processing new auditory information. Think of it this way: You go to watch a movie at the theater, and the room is usually dimly lit. However, when you walk out of the theater into the bright sunlight, your eyes need time to adjust. The same goes for your ears when you start using hearing aids.

Trust the Process

Unlike eyeglasses, which provide instant results, hearing aids require some time for your brain to adjust to the new sounds. When you first start using hearing aids, you will notice that speech, environmental sounds, and noise are all louder than what you are used to. This can be overwhelming and cause some discomfort. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that this is a natural part of the acclimatization process.

To help with this process, hearing aids are programmed to not be at 100% target volume right off the bat. The goal is to help our patients have a pleasant listening experience and gradually get comfortable with hearing forgotten sounds without feeling overwhelmed. It’s crucial to have patience during this period and not expect linear progress.

Hearing loss is typically gradual, so there are likely sounds that you haven’t heard in several years. So, your brain needs to re-learn these sounds and practice knowing which sounds to focus on and which ones to filter out. As you wear your hearing aids daily, you’ll exercise parts of your brain and auditory nerve that have not been active, leading to better hearing.

The Importance of Trial Periods

To facilitate this process, we provide a trial period. This is an essential step in the process of adjusting to hearing aids because it allows you to test out the hearing aids in different environments and situations. The trial period typically lasts a few weeks, during which you can test the hearing aids in your daily routine and get used to the new sounds.

During the trial period, it’s important to take notes on how the hearing aids are working for you. This will help us fine-tune the hearing aids to your specific needs. It’s not uncommon to make adjustments to the hearing aids during the trial period to ensure that you are getting the best possible hearing experience.

At your own pace

Adjusting to hearing aids is a process that requires patience and commitment. It’s important to keep in mind that auditory acclimatization is a real phenomenon that can take several weeks to occur fully. Taking advantage of the trial period provided by most hearing aid manufacturers can be extremely helpful in making the necessary adjustments and ensuring that you are getting the best possible hearing experience. So if you’re considering hearing aids, remember to give yourself time to adjust, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support during the trial period. We are here for you! Ready to schedule a visit? Click here to do so.