We have put together a list of some of the common problems in adjusting to new hearing aids, and how you can overcome them. If you have any additional questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Beltone hearing care professional.
The sounds that you hear seem odd
When you start using a hearing aid, the sounds that you hear may seem odd, off-balance, or different from how you remember them. This is because when hearing loss happens, changes occur not only in the ears, but also in the brain. As a result, the brain adjusts and rewires itself to cope with hearing loss. So when a hearing aid sends normal hearing volume again, the brain may react with surprise and interpret the sound as too loud or otherwise “off.”
Continue using the hearing aid, and the brain will readjust. All the sounds will start appearing normal again. Tip: Wear your hearing aids for just an hour or two the first day, and gradually increase the wear time to get used to it. Do not immerse yourself in noisy environments right away, because it may be overwhelming.
Acoustic feedback is caused by the leakage of sound from the hearing aid receiver back to the microphone, and often manifests as a whistling sound. A hearing aid that whistles not only impairs the ability to hear, but also causes embarrassment to the user.
Earwax buildup in the ear canal is a common culprit for feedback problems. Check your ear canals for ear wax and get it removed. Poorly fitting ear molds can also generate feedback. If you have recently lost weight, it may cause the hearing aid to fit loosely and cause problems. If you notice acoustic feedback immediately after an illness or weight loss, you may need to get a new ear mold or shell.
Actively participating in discussions
Modern hearing aids are designed to minimize the background noise and make hearing a more comfortable experience, but you may still find it difficult to isolate one particular voice or sound, especially as a new user. When several people talk at once, it may be difficult to follow the conversation or participate in the discussion. Don’t get dejected—even people with normal hearing struggle to participate in discussions when many talk at once.
What you can do is move a little closer to the person that you want to focus on and follow his conversation. As you get used to your hearing aid, you will find that you are able to handle similar situations with more confidence.
When you use a modern hearing aid, you would normally not need to manually adjust the volume. Sometimes, you may feel tempted to boost the volume to understand someone who is speaking in a low voice at a great distance. This rarely works. Even people with healthy hearing may not be able to do this.
Practice Makes Perfect
Wearing a hearing aid can feel a little strange at first. But after that initial period of adjustment, you will get used to it. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the new sensations. If the problem persists, get in touch with your hearing care professional.
What problems do you experience while using hearing aids? Tell us in the comments below.