Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, audiologist Bart Baker M.S. advises first time hearing aid users

Now that you’ve been fit with your new hearing aids it make take some time to get used to them. You will be adding to your daily routine some elements that will promote better hearing and minimize repairs. Initially, you will be aware that something is in your ear, your own voice sounds different and rediscover some environmental sounds that you may have forgotten.

For the first day or two, wear the hearing aids in a relatively quiet environment, preferably somewhere that is familiar and allows you time to practice insertion and removal of the hearing aids, adjustment of any controls, and changing the battery. Mastering these steps makes the process of adapting to the hearing aids much easier. You will be less focused on the process of wearing hearing aids and more on the enjoyment of improved hearing. Getting used to the sensation of something is the ear usually occurs rapidly; be patient. If there is a comfort issue, bring it to your hearing care professional’s attention immediately. Do not try to “tough it out”. Often a minor adjustment can resolve the discomfort.

One of the first things you may notice is the change in the way your voice sounds to you. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, your voice is typically the closet sound to the hearing aid microphone so it may be amplified. Also, with nothing in the ear canals, the resonance of your voice in your head escapes, for the most part, unimpeded from the open ear canals. When you place something in the ear canal, you at least partially occlude it, trapping some the resonance and making your own voice louder to you. It may sound like you are in a barrel. This is usually less noticeable after a period of time. There are adjustments and modifications that can be made to reduce the resonance if needed.

Environmental sounds may sound different. Things like running water, flushing a toilet, the refrigerator, walking on gravel or leaves are a few of the things that will sound different. Take time getting used to these sounds and others. It may have been years since you last heard them clearly and your brain will need some time to adapt to the amplified sound.

Allotting time in your daily schedule to properly clean the hearing aids is important. Keeping them clean and dry will go a long way toward minimizing problems requiring repair. Use due care when handling the hearing aids and store them properly when not in use, away from small children and household pets. That goes for the batteries also, keep them away from food and medication. Accidental swallowing can be hazardous in that some batteries are poisonous and almost all can present a choking hazard.

Now that you have your new hearing aids, listening to the sounds around you can be less stressful and improve your quality of life. Taking the time to get comfortable with your hearing aids will go a long way in helping you to enjoy family gatherings, church functions, and daily activities again.

You can contact Bart here.

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