Tanya is being fitted for a new pair of hearing aids by her hearing specialist. And it’s the reason for some anxiety. Not, you know, a ton of anxiety. But hearing aids are new to her, and she’s a little stressed about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gadget inside of her ear canal, particularly since she’s never been a big fan of earbuds or earplugs.
Tanya’s concerns are not unique. Fit and general comfort are worries for many new hearing aid users. Tanya has every intention of wearing her hearing aids. Now she won’t need to turn the television up so loud that it irritates her family or even the neighbors. But how comfortable are those hearing aids going to be?
Adjusting to Hearing Aids For The First Time
So, are hearing aids uncomfortable? The short answer is: some people experience them as a bit uncomfortable when they first wear them. Initial levels of comfort will fluctuate because, like many things in life, there’s a period of adjustment. But over time, you’ll become accustomed to how your hearing aids feel and become more comfortable.
Sometimes it’s just nice to know that these adjustments are coming. Knowing what you should expect can help you acclimate to your hearing aids in a healthy, sustainable, and comfortable way.
There are two steps to your adjustment:
- Adjusting to the enhanced sound quality: Sometimes, it might be the sound quality that you have to adjust to. For most people who have been coping with hearing loss for some time, it will probably take a while to get used to hearing a full range of sound. It may sound a little loud at first or there may be frequencies of sound your not accustomed to hearing. At first, this can be disruptive. For example, one patient complained that he could hear his hair rubbing against his coat. This is not uncommon. In a short period of time, your brain will make the necessary adjustments to noises it doesn’t need to hear.
- Becoming accustomed to a hearing aid in your ear: There may be some slight physical discomfort when you first start to wear your hearing aid, and your hearing specialist may suggest you start off wearing your hearing aids for only part of the day. Even so, there shouldn’t be any pain involved. If you’re feeling pain due to your hearing aid, you should absolutely speak with your hearing specialist as soon as you can.
In order to improve your overall comfort and speed up the adjustment period, speak with your hearing specialist if you’re having trouble with the physical positioning or sound quality of your hearing aids.
How Can I Improve The Comfort of My Hearing Aids?
Fortunately, there are a few methods that have proven to be rather successful over the years.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first pair of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel as though you have to wear them all day, every day right off the bat. You can gradually work your way up to it. From one to four hours every day is a great way to start. Eventually, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you become comfortable with them.
- Practice: The world may sound just a little bit different after you get your hearing aids. And it might take a while for your ears to adapt, especially when it comes to speech. In order to get the hang of it a little more quickly, there are lots of exercises you can do like watching a movie with caption or reading along with an audiobook.
- Get the right fit: Fitting your ears comfortably is what hearing aids are designed to do. You’ll absolutely want to discuss your fit with your hearing specialist right off the bat, but you’ll also want to consult your hearing specialist for follow-up fittings to be certain everything is working correctly and the fit is excellent. You may also want to think about a custom fit hearing aid for optimal comfort and effectiveness.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
Your hearing aids may feel a little awkward for the first few days or weeks. But the more quickly you adjust to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your daily life. In order to really make that transition, it’s essential that you wear them on a daily basis.
Pretty soon, you’ll be focusing on is having good conversation with friends.