Tanya is visiting her hearing specialist, being fitted for her very first pair of hearing aids. And she’s experiencing a little anxiety. Her anxiety isn’t really that bad. But she’s never had to use hearing aids before, and she’s a little concerned about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gizmo inside of her ear canal, particularly because she’s not a big fan of earpods or earplugs.
These worries are not unique to Tanya. Many first-time hearing aid users have worries about the overall fit and comfort of their hearing aids. Tanya has every intention of wearing her hearing aids. Now she won’t need to crank up the television so loud that it bothers her family or even her neighbors. But how comfortable will those hearing aids be?
Adjusting to Hearing Aids For The First Time
So, is wearing hearing aids uncomfortable? The short answer is: some individuals find them to be a little uncomfortable when they first wear them. Initial comfort levels will vary because, like many things in life, there’s a period of adjustment. But you will get more comfortable over time as you get accustomed to your hearing aids.
At times it’s just nice to know that these adjustments are will happen. Knowing what you should expect will help your adjustment period be easier.
There are two phases to your adjustment:
- Adjusting to the feeling of a hearing aid: There may be some slight physical discomfort when you first start wearing your hearing aid, and your hearing specialist might recommend you start off wearing your hearing aids for only part of the day. Having said that, there shouldn’t be any pain involved. If you’re feeling pain due to your hearing aid, you should absolutely speak with your hearing specialist as soon as you can.
- Becoming comfortable with an increased quality of sound: In some cases, the improved sound quality takes some adjusting to. If you’re like the majority of people, you put off on getting hearing aids, and you’re not used to hearing a full array of sounds anymore. When you begin wearing your hearing aids, it may sound a little loud, or you might hear sounds that you aren’t used to hearing. At first, this can be rather distracting. For example, one patient reported that he could hear his hair rubbing against his jacket. This isn’t uncommon. After a few weeks, your brain will block out the noises you don’t want to pay attention to.
In order to better your overall comfort and quicken the adjustment period, speak to your hearing specialist if you’re having trouble with the physical positioning or sound quality of your hearing aids.
Can I Make my Hearing Aids More Comfortable?
Over the years, fortunately, there are a few techniques that have worked fairly well.
- Start slow: You don’t have to use your hearing aids twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week right away. You can gradually work your way up to it. Start by wearing your hearing aid for one to four hours a day. That said, you’ll want to build up to wearing your hearing aids all day, but you don’t have to start there.
- Practice: Once you get your hearing aids, the world isn’t going to sound quite the same. And it may take a while for your ears to adapt, especially when it comes to the spoken word. There are many exercises (reading along with an audiobook or watching TV with the closed captions turned on) that can help you get better at this a little more quickly.
- Get the right fit: Fitting your ears properly is what hearing aids are designed to do. It could take a few appointments with your hearing specialist to get everything functioning and fitting just right. You might also want to think about a custom fit hearing aid for maximum effectiveness and comfort.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
Your hearing aids may feel a little uncomfortable for the first few days or weeks. But the faster you adjust to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your daily life. In order to really make that transition, it’s critical that you wear them every day.
Soon all you will have to think about is what you hear, not how you hear it.