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.


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.



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