Educating new hearing aid users is a big part of what I do as a Doctor of Audiology at Alabama Hearing Associates.

New users frequently have a bit of anxiety about starting to wear hearing aids.

To prepare our new users for what’s ahead, I let them know there will be an adjustment period when you begin using hearing aids.

I also assure them the adjustment period is normal.

Most importantly, I give them tips to make adjusting to new hearing aids easier. Here’s the advice I typically share with our hearing center’s new users.

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Adjusting to New Hearing Aids Is a Unique Experience

You may have heard getting used to new hearing aids is like wearing new shoes. However, that’s not exactly true.

When you start using hearing aids, you’ll probably feel mild discomfort from your body’s awareness you’re wearing something new.

That part is similar to getting new footwear. But the similarities end there. The truth is adjusting to new hearing aids is unlike any other experience.

At first, the sounds in your everyday environment may seem too loud. Background noises like the sound of the refrigerator may be distracting.

Even your own voice may sound off to you. You’re not alone.

Every new hearing aid user goes through this phase because hearing actually happens in our brains. For most people, hearing loss happens slowly over a very long period of time.

By the time you seek help for hearing trouble, there are usually many sounds the brain hasn’t processed in a long time. A big part of adjusting to new hearing aids is giving your brain a chance to learn to process those sounds again.

Soon, your brain will relearn which sounds to pay attention to and which ones to ignore.

Tips to Make Adjusting to Hearing Aids Easier

Start Slowly

Initially, you want to use your hearing aids for just a few hours a day while you’re at home. It’s best to gradually increase how long you wear your hearing devices until you’re using them for all your waking hours.

Begin at Home

After you’re comfortable wearing your hearing instruments at home, then you can begin wearing them in more challenging environments like the grocery store. Environments like cocktail parties and restaurants tend to be the most challenging for hearing aid users to get adjusted to. Your transition will smoother if you use your hearing aid in less challenging environments first.

Make a Commitment

The adjustment period lasts a few weeks in some cases. It can take a few months for others. The good news is your ears and brain will get used to your hearing devices as long as you remain committed to wearing them every day until then.

Read Aloud

You’ll get used to how your voice sounds sooner if you read aloud regularly in a quiet place.

When to Contact a Hearing Professional

Mild discomfort with new hearing aids is typical. Moderate or severe pain should never be a new hearing aid user’s experience.

Unfortunately, we see this frequently happen with users who purchased their hearing devices online. Since these users didn’t have a professional fitting, their pain comes from devices that don’t fit properly.

If you or a loved one is experiencing discomfort or is having trouble adjusting to new hearing aids, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.

We are happy to help, even if you didn’t purchase your hearing aids with us.

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Dr. Sarah Kate Fisher

Dr. Sarah Kate Fisher was born and raised in Huntsville and received her bachelor’s from the University of Alabama and her doctorate from Auburn University.
    Basic Hearing Test

    A basic hearing test begins with an air conduction test. You will be seated in a soundproof booth and single-use, foam earphones will be inserted into your ear canals. The Audiologist will ask you to push a button or raise your hand when you barely hear a series of beeps (tones) presented at various frequencies (pitches) to obtain your air conduction thresholds.

    To determine whether your hearing loss is a conductive (mechanical) loss, sensorineural (permanent) loss or combination of the two, we perform a bone conduction test.  

    For this test, a head band is place on the bone behind one of the ears to obtain your bone conduction thresholds. This process provides a different form of sound transmission using vibration, which bypasses the eardrum and the middle ear bones and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. When you hear the beeps/tones, you will push a button or raise your hand.

    If bone conduction thresholds are better than air conduction thresholds (through the foam inserts), you have a conductive hearing loss. This suggests a problem with the mechanical structures (moving parts) of the ears.

    Conductive hearing loss is often a medically treatable condition for which we will provide you with a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. However, if bone and air conduction thresholds match, it indicates a sensorineural hearing loss (permanent), and the treatment will likely involve hearing aids.

    ALL INCLUSIVE PLAN

    $6,790

    Comprehensive 5-Year treatment plan with premium technology

    If you want premium “out of this world” technology and the highest level of service and expert support, our All-Inclusive treatment plan is the right investment for you.

    The All-Inclusive treatment plan offers long-term value for your on-the-go lifestyle, providing everything you need to connect with family and friends for years to come.

    Includes:

    • Stellar hearing devices from top manufacturer (rechargeable option available)

    • Wireless accessory included at no charge

    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance valutaion

    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming

    • Same day diagnosis and in-office repair during weekdays for devices dropped off before 3:00 p.m.

    • 5-Year full-service repair warranty

    • Unlimited remote hearing aid adjustments

    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning

    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes and filters)

    • $1000 contribution towards purchase of upgraded technology within 48 months

    • 3-Year replacement warranty for loss or damage (no deductible)

    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service

    • Unlimited teleaudiology appointments

    • Access to our “speed of light” repair specialists

    Schedule Appointment

    Choose Your Level of Technology

    A Comprehensive12-Step Functional Hearing Assessment

    If you struggle to understand conversations in social situations, restaurants, or other noisy environments, you do not need to schedule a basic hearing test. You certainly don’t need to schedule a “free” hearing screening or online hearing test.

    You need to schedule a “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment at Alabama Hearing Associates!

    Hearing Technology with a Methodical Plan

    Our community understands better than most what can be achieved when you combine technology with human intelligence and persistence. It is much the same with hearing technology.

    The latest hearing aid technology is incredibly powerful, offering stellar sound quality and performance. Wireless connections allow phone calls, music and television to stream directly to your hearing aids for exceptional clarity.

    But hearing aids do not fit and program themselves! For best outcomes, you also need the human touch and expertise provided by our Doctors of Audiology.

    How do I know my new hearing aids are working properly?

    Without verifying that the hearing aid is working correctly from the start, all of the other steps in the hearing aid fitting process are useless. The most sensitive quality control measure is something called Electroacoustic Analysis. We complete EAA on every new set of hearing aids, before delivery of repaired devices, and on an annual basis.

    What Is Real-Ear Measurement?

    Real-ear measurement (REM) is how an audiologist knows that hearing aids are working the way they should in each patient’s ears.

    Ears are as unique as a fingerprint. Because of this, every ear will collect sounds differently.

    Even if I had two patients with the exact same hearing loss and hearing aids, there’s almost no chance the hearing aids would be programmed the same way.

    Orientation, Counseling, and Follow-up

    Dr. Cliff (the creator of the Best Practice Pro Network) said it best:

    “Having a detailed orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with hearing treatment.  Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that you have success for years to come.  Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss treatment related information and who will maintain your devices is extremely important.”

    During the orientation, your provider will give you the tools you need to be a successful hearing aid user. Everyone has different learning styles and we want to make sure whatever works best for you is what’s used. After the 75 day adjustment period, routine checkups are necessary to maintain the hearing aids and to ensure optimal hearing healthcare. 

    Real World Adjustments

    Your hearing loss didn't occur overnight, so it will take some time to adjust to the hearing aids. Your patience and persistence will be well worth it.

    Wireless Connections

    Most hearing aids automatically come with wireless streaming from smartphones and it has been a lifesaver for those that are working remotely and spending hours on teleconferences. As for other wireless accessories, the two most popular solutions are a small microphone used in less-than-ideal listening environments and a TV streamer that streams the TV’s sound directly into your ears—which can be a lifesaver when watching British TV shows or during football season. If your audiologist believes they would be beneficial for you, they will discuss your options and demonstrate the device in the office.

    Assessing Outcomes

    To ensure the most success with your hearing devices, we measure the benefits of amplification at the end of your adjustment period—some of the surveys and tests included in the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment will be repeated to evaluate progress, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with the hearing aids.