If you are new to wearing hearing aids, you will probably find them to be challenging to adjust to and awkward to wear. The uncomfortable sensation is normal. Thankfully, the more you wear your hearing aids, the more comfortable they will feel. Try wearing your hearing aids regularly because they will not help you if you don’t wear them! Start off in a quiet room, then ease into talking with family and friends. Step up watching television and speaking on the phone. A great way of getting comfortable with hearing aids is to try listening activities that will help you acclimate to your new hearing aids.
Give Your Brain Some Time
The brain needs an adjustment period to hearing aids. Your brain has been missing many signals for some time, so it might be startled as it begins to receive signals again. Time is required for the brain to adjust to speech and environmental sounds. The brain has been focusing on sounds it was not able to hear and in the process may have allocated neural pathways away from those missing sounds to other tasks.
Simply put, the brain needs retraining in the utilization of the new sounds. Establish a routine of wearing your new hearing aids all of the time instead of just when you need them to help the brain adjust to the new sounds it is now hearing. Practice patience, everything will seem loud at first but will eventually become part of your subconscious again allowing you to understand without thinking much about it.
Exercise Your Brain With Listening Activities
Listening practice is vital to hearing aid wearer success. Listening exercises help your brain adjust quickly to your hearing aids. All age groups can benefit from listening exercises, and your hearing healthcare professional can make recommendations that are suitable for your particular hearing needs. These listening exercises might consist of reading a book out loud, playing video games, or using apps.
Hearing impaired adults will find useful hearing practice apps readily available. These apps allow users to practice drills for listening in quiet and noisy environments. Most offer a test to establish the recommended levels, progress tracking, and a choice of session lengths. Hearing practice apps for children focus upon guiding the development of listening and language skills via fun stories and games. There are even apps to help stimulate neurons in your brain as anxiety and depression often accompany a hearing loss.
Daily Exercises You Can Do Starting Today
Apps are great, but you can also do hearing exercises at home. Try these:
- Practice communicating in noisy environments by simulating them at home. You can quickly increase the radio or television volume and practice tuning it out.
- Close your eyes and ask a family member or friend to move to different parts of a room and make noise. Try to determine the location where the sound is coming from as well as the distance you believe it may be.
- Meditate to improve concentration.
- Practice sound isolation by closing your eyes and trying to identify as many environmental sounds as you can.
A Hearing Healthcare Professional Can Help
Getting used to hearing aids is an ongoing physical and psychological process and as such, might require professional assistance. Keep up a dialogue with your hearing healthcare professional as they may have tips for getting acquainted with your hearing aids. They can also help you find suitable listening exercises to help retrain your brain.