7 Steps to Acclimate Yourself to a New Hearing Device
It takes time to get used to a new hearing aid. You become used to the absence of background noise and suddenly hearing it again can be intrusive and confusing. Your hearing care professional can show you the noise-reduction program on the hearing device, but even then it takes time for your brain to adjust.
In a person with regular hearing, the brain acts as a filter for unwanted noise. However, those with hearing loss shift focus and the brain concentrates on interpreting half-heard sounds. When you first wear a hearing aid, the brain must relearn the skill of filtering out background noise.
These seven simple steps can help you readjust.
1: Use your hearing device every day
Wear the hearing aid for a short time every day and avoid saving the device for special occasions. Little and often helps you adjust to the barrage of noise around you. Wear the device for at least an hour a day and extend the time as you get used to it.
2: Wear your device at home
First gain confidence by wearing the device around the home. Many people are so excited they plan a day out with their new hearing aid. Unfortunately you may be overwhelmed by all the noise. In extreme cases, this can be so off-putting that the wearer decides a hearing device is not for them. The answer is to acclimate to your device in the far less demanding environment of your home.
3: Focus on individual noises
Get used to hearing the washing machine again, ticking clocks and squeaky floorboards. By tuning into all the noises around you, your brain starts to wake up the center associated with filtering out unwanted sounds.
4: Converse with one person
Get used to listening and responding to one person and notice how their voice sounds. This helps you to relearn the skill of focusing on speech.
5: Try a group conversation
Now try taking part in a group conversation. This is more difficult and you may not catch everything that is said, but it’s all part of reawakening how your brain processes sound.
6: Venture outside
Now it’s time to go for a walk wearing your new device. Notice the sounds and as you register one noise, such as traffic, try deliberately ignoring it in order to focus on another sound.
7: Visit noisy places
You’ve laid an excellent foundation, and now it’s time to venture somewhere noisier, such as a restaurant. But remember, even people with regular hearing don’t hear everything all the time, so don’t be discouraged if you struggle at first.
Remember you are learning a new skill. Don’t make the mistake of wearing your brand new hearing device to a noisy party as the noise may overwhelm you. Instead, become acclimatized to your improved hearing in a controlled way in order to enjoy all the benefits in the longer term.