Much like prescription glasses, hearing aid won’t cure your hearing loss. However, new hearing aids aren’t as easy to get used to as glasses. Don’t be surprised if, at first, it all seems somewhat overwhelming. Getting used to hearing aids takes patience and practice.
Some people seem to leap right into amplification use. For others the process relearning to hear takes longer and requires added patience, dedication, and perseverance. Adults who have lost their hearing must learn to match the signals provided by their hearing aids to the speech sounds they heard and stored in their memory before losing their hearing. Even the most sophisticated hearing aids won’t provide maximum satisfaction unless the wearer is willing to work at learning to hear again. This can be a frustrating process; however with time and dedication, the hearing aid user will adapt to their new hearing aids and will enjoy better hearing.
Relearning to hear takes place in the brain. The ears provide a conduit for sound to enter the central nervous system but the brain must interpret these sounds. When amplification reintroduces sounds, the brain may become overwhelmed. The unfamiliar sounds may at first seem tinny or metallic, background noise may seem louder than usual, and the wearer may feel his or her own voice sounds different. New hearing aid users often discover that the world is a noisy place filled with sounds that they haven’t heard in a long time. Time and practice with their new amplification the hearing aid user will adapt to these sounds.
There are no set limits on how long this process will take. Research has shown that the listener’s ability to comprehend speech may continue to increase over a period of several months after being fit with new hearing aids. For some users this process will take place in as little as a few weeks, for others, it may require more time. Regardless of the amount of time, those who are most successful with hearing aids share similar characteristics; 1) a positive attitude, 2) a willingness to learn, 3) a commitment to good hearing, and 4) patience.
Relearning to hear also requires a good working relationship with an Audiologist. An Audiologist has the education and experience to help counsel the wearer through the relearning process and can provide many useful tips and suggestions that can help them to hear better. With patience, dedication, and ample guidance from an Audiologist, hearing instrument wearers will become a successful listeners.