The Top 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Hearing Devices
I'm Denise Kopecki with Texan Renew Hearing Center. Today we're going to discuss some of the top 5 tips and tricks to getting the most out of your new hearing devices.
So you've finally made the decision to go into your hearing health care provider. You've gotten fitted with your new state of the art hearing technology and you are ready to hear the world around you-or are you? A lot of times with hearing loss, we've had it for a very long period of time. So trying to reintroduce all of these new sounds to you can seem very strange and overwhelming. It may even feel uncomfortable. You may start to think to yourself, "oh my goodness. What did I do? May I actually liked my quiet world." Today we're going to go over a few little tips and tricks to help you with acclimating with your new hearing devices.
The number one first trick is that we always teach our patients when they first get their hearing devices is to give yourself some time. Your hearing loss did not develop in one day, one week, or even one month, 99% of the time. Getting used to hearing all of the sounds in the world around you isn't going to sound "normal" in one day or even one week. Since it's the brain that does all of the hearing, we are literally retraining your brain what it's like to hear these sounds again. Don't get frustrated if right after leaving your hearing health care appointment, you go have lunch at a noisy restaurant and can't understand everyone.
The next step we tell our patients is to start small. Reacquiring your hearing skills takes practice. When you're using a hearing aid for the first time, it may be best if you start by just wearing them for a few hours at a time. Start with first thing in the morning when you get up, put your hearing aids in. Even though you may say, "well, I'm home alone or there's not a lot of people to talk to," still put them on so that your brain can acclimate to hearing even the small things in your world around you. It may sound strange to hear the refrigerator or the air condition kick on or even your pet's toenails on the tile. Where them a few hours each day and continually increase that amount of time. Start to increase the places that you go to while wearing your hearing aids.
The third tip would be to read out loud. Sometimes when you haven't been understanding people not because of noise level but because of the clearness of the sound, it can be hard to recognize what certain letter sounds sound like right away. Words with "s" or "ch," prove to be a bigger challenge. When you first start getting used to your hearing devices words with "s" or "ch" can sound really sharp or shrill when you haven't heard them before. If you're reading out loud, you're able to hear and see those words. It helps your brain further get adjusted to hearing those sounds.
Number four when getting used to your hearing devices is to enlist the help of your family and friends. There may be things that it may feel like it's the first time you're ever hearing them or it may be something that you'd ask someone, "is that something you normally hear?" We'll have people when they sigh are able to hear that for the first time and are thinking to themselves, "wow, I sound so loud when I breathe." A loved one may tell them, "I can hear you sigh. I can hear whenever I sigh. I can hear whenever I scratch the hair on my head." Asking loved ones if they hear the birds chirping or the leaves rustling can help you brain with determining if these are normal sounds or if they are things you're hearing too loud.
The final tip we give to our new hearing aid wearers is to keep a hearing journal and have realistic goals. So, if there are things that you're hearing and you're not quite sure if they're normal sounds-write them down. If there are certain places that are bothersome because of the noise, make a note of it so when you come back for your next follow-up appointment with your hearing care provider they can make adjustments to the hearing devices. Sometimes people think that they should hear everything perfect on day one, and if they're not than the hearing aids aren't doing their job. Remember that hearing aids are exactly that. They are aiding in the hearing that you have left. It took a long time to get the hearing loss and it make take a little bit of time to retrain your ears to hear again.
Our bonus tip is that we want to celebrate the improvements in your hearing. There are some things that will sound strange the first few weeks with wearing the hearing devices, but there will be some things that will just absolutely amaze you that you're able to not only hear, but understand. Remember, every little bit of improvement counts.