Last week for a class assignment, we were required to wear hearing aids in both ears for 3 hours. The hearing aids were set for someone with a mild hearing loss and we were fit with temporary tips in order to wear them. For the assignment, we had to write a paper on what we liked, and what we didn’t like. I went into the experiment excited, ready to learn something about what patients go through every day.
The first thing I noticed was everything was certainly loud, a little too loud since I have normal hearing. At one point I tried eating trail mix. Who knew pretzels could be so noisy? Then the tip started hurting my right ear. I had a hard time hearing the person in front of me, but could clearly (maybe too clearly) hear my classmates behind me. As time went on, I started getting used to wearing them. Still, by the end of the third hour, I was exhausted and ready to take them off!
After a little recuperation, however, I started thinking about all the things that could be done to fix my aggravation. The hearing aids were obviously too loud, so an adjustment of volume was needed. A new tip could easily replace the old one to help alleviate some of the discomfort and programming changes dealing with the directionality of the microphones could allow me to hear the person in front of me better. Furthermore, three hours is not enough time to adjust to life with hearing aids. It takes time and patience for the brain to adjust.
At the end of the day, I learned that adjusting to hearing aids takes time and also how important it is to make sure the hearing aids are right for the person wearing them.