Note from Doctor Tammy, AuD: It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for your brain to get used to adjusting to hearing aids and your sense of hearing. That means it takes a little patience and effort on your part to make the hearing aid adjustment. . .but it’s well worth it for the benefit!
The more you wear your hearing aids in the beginning the quicker your brain will adjust to the sound and the quicker you will get the maximum benefit of hearing aid use!
Adjusting to Hearing Aids: Expert Advice
Q: Why is everything so loud with my new hearing aids? ~Edward, Los Angeles, CA
A: You just got your hearing aids and you can hear everything! The newspaper is so loud, the dog barking scares your socks off and running water sounds like Niagara Falls. This is common when your hearing aids are brand new and you are experiencing hearing aid adjustment.
Think of this: most people lose their hearing very slowly over decades. Your hearing loss has occurred so slowly that your brain didn’t even notice the changes. Now, in an instant you are giving your brain and your ears a lot of that sound back. You are not accustomed to hearing many of these new sounds.
Be patient and push on! As your brain adjusts to all this new sound you will find that it’s not that loud after all. Over time your brain will remember how to forget many of the sounds you don’t want or need to hear.
Hearing Aid Sharpness
Q: I just got my new hearing aids and I can hear the birds! But also, everything sounds a bit sharp. ~Barbara, Arlington, VA
A: The majority of people with hearing loss have high-frequency hearing loss. Due to the shape and anatomy of the organ for hearing the high frequencies are what we lose first. This means that, with hearing aid use, the high frequencies are where you are getting the most power and where you have not heard sound the longest.
Your brain is adjusting to hearing aids and all the new sound but the high frequency is the hardest to adjust to. The excess high frequency sound is what makes sounds seem tinny, metallic or sharp.
In most cases the brain will make the hearing aid adjustment and within a week that sound will be much more normalized but if you do feel that it’s still bothersome we can always reprogram the hearing aids for more comfort.
Keep in mind though that the high frequencies are also what give us the beauty and clarity to speech so we don’t want to reduce them too much!
Hearing Aid Use
Q: Do I have to wear my hearing aid all day? ~Henry, New York, NY
A: YES! Or as much as you can. The more you wear your hearing aid the more hearing aid use benefits you. Even if you are sitting in a quiet home there are still sounds around you should be hearing. The heat/air kicking on, someone knocking at the door, a timer going off are all sounds you should be hearing. The more you wear it the more your brain will learn how to process what is coming in.
If you would like to submit a question to Dr. Flodmand please send it to [email protected]