Note from Tammy: 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

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]

by Tammy Flodmand

14 responses to “Ask the Audiologist: Adjusting to New Hearing Aids

  1. I’m a long-time wearer of hearing aids (I started wearing them at 5 and I’m a young adult now) and today I got new ear molds. (I have mild-moderate hearing loss.) When I use them, I notice that sounds are sharper, like when I got new hearing aids but less extreme. I changed up the material and fit (from soft mold to hard mold, and from a single little wing to a skeleton shape). Is this increase in clarity because my old molds weren’t working as well as they should have due to their age, or because I switched up the material and fit?

  2. I previously had hearing aids, but they got lost when I moved. I got new hearing aids today. During the day, my hearing was fine. I took the hearing aids out for a couple of hours, put them back on, and now I can’t hear sounds, I can only feel beats and vibrations. Can anybody relate or give me some advice?

  3. How do you turn a hearing aid down it is too loud and tinny the guy saw turned it up and down on a laptop and he is not there until next week am finding it to hard to use it constantly has anyone any ideas

  4. I actually have a different problem in that I can’t hear bird calls thru my left ear hearing aid. I hear bird calls thru my right ear without a hearing aid, although I have hi frequency hearing loss in my right ear also. I have adjusted the hearing aid in many ways and can hear everything else in LE.

  5. I’ve only had my hearing aids (both ears) for about a week now. The loudness is driving me crazy, but I understand I just need to be patient. But I am also having headaches every day and my eyes have been hurting. Could this be related to the new hearing aids?

  6. Sooo I have questions for anyone That has same situation as me. I’ve been wearing hearing aids since I was 5. I’m now 28. Just recently I’ve been trying out newer hearing aids just because my old ones (still wearing, is almost 8 years old-yes I look after it well ) is having issues with new molds That won’t stop making feedback noise. Anyways new hearing aids is making loud thumping sounds constantly if I’m around loud area. And It makes it quiet if I’m in silent room. Now me testing it between old n new? I’m also picking up thumping noise in my old. But funny thing is I sometimes I hear it but it wasn’t really noticeable. Also my speech /talking to people is decreasing . My brain is working extra hard to understand what the person is saying. Again with newer hearing aid …I’m picking up better speech words . But I’m hearing loud thumping sounds constantly mind you . Is there any way they can stop prevent the thumping noise???

  7. Thanks for the posting about adjusting to hearing aids. My Audiologist said basically the same thing. But I still wasn’t prepared for the jolt that high frequency close sounds are giving me. I’m in my second day of use, so I have a ways to go. I’m playing with the bluetooth connection device and phone app for my brand of Aids. Again, I appreciate the post.

  8. Just started wearing an aid in my left ear. I haven’t ever had hearing in my left ear since birth, do since starting to wear it, I feel like I have swimmers ears. Plus my canal is sore since starting to use it. Is this common? I do hear a lot better, but having pain in my ear canal just isn’t worth it. Or does this go away after the adjusting period??

    1. Hi Janette,

      There are a couple things we would recommend:

      1) Try differently sized domes, as your ear canal may be small. A differently sized dome will help with a more comfortable fit.
      2) Try cortisone cream. This is usually recommended for itchiness, but this may help a bit for soreness in the ear.
      3) It does take time to adjust, so after trying the above options, do allow yourself time to adjust to the hearing aids in your ear.

  9. My grandma just got new hearing aids, and she is having a really hard time getting use to them. This being said, I can’t thank you enough Tammy for talking about this, and sharing with me some information on how my grandma can start getting use to them. I’ll definitely make sure I talk to my grandma about this right away.

  10. I have the hearing aids for almost 3 weeks and wear them every day.
    I did not get used to the hissing sound at the end of many words that end with an “s” for instance. All the noises around me that I pick up, drowns out the words of the people I have an conversation with. I turned down the hearing aid and hope to be able to cope with it better and get use to it.
    What else can I do to get used to it.

  11. I have had difficulty in keeping the hearing aids connected in my ear canal, Since they sit more on the top of my ear, my glasses make contact and m the moving of the glasses on and off cause more problems.

  12. I took a hearing test and I submitted it to your office but when I hear almost all the people who have aids and don’t like them, I am reluctant to buy. They never seem to get better or adjust to the aids. And we are talking about expensive $7000 aids. Buying low cost ones seems even more futile. I know you have a trial period but once I try them and they don’t work it seems all hope is lost.

  13. I hear the sounds well but don’t understand words on T.V or in person

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