Tanya is sitting with her hearing specialist, being fitted for her very first pair of hearing aids. And she’s feeling a little anxious. Her anxiety isn’t actually that bad. But hearing aids are new to her, and she’s somewhat stressed about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gadget inside of her ear canal, particularly since she’s never been a big fan of earplugs or earbuds.
These concerns are not only felt by Tanya. Fit and overall comfort are concerns for many first time hearing aid users. Tanya wants to use her hearing aid. She’s looking forward to hearing her son’s music and listening to her TV at a volume not likely to cause problems with the neighbors. But will those hearing aids be comfortable?
How to Adapt When You First Wear Your Hearing Aids
So, are hearing aids uncomfortable? The short response is: some people experience them as a little uncomfortable at first. Early levels of comfort will fluctuate because, like many things in life, there’s a period of adjustment. But as time passes, you’ll become accustomed to the feeling of your hearing aids and become more comfortable.
At times it’s just good to recognize that these adjustments are coming. Knowing what you should expect will help your adjustment period be easier.
There are two phases to your adjustment:
- Becoming accustomed to a hearing aid in your ear: Your hearing specialist may suggest that you begin slowly wearing your hearing aids so you can take some time to get accustomed to how the device feels in your ear. Even so, there shouldn’t be any pain involved. If you’re experiencing pain because of your hearing aid, you should absolutely speak with your hearing specialist as soon as you can.
- Adjusting to the enhanced sound quality: In some situations, the improved sound quality takes some getting used to. For the majority of people who have been dealing with hearing loss for some time, it will probably take a while to get used to hearing a full range of sound. It may sound a bit loud at first or there could be frequencies of sound your not accustomed to hearing. Initially, this can be distracting. One of our readers complained, for instance, that he could hear his hair scraping against his jacket when he moved his head. This isn’t uncommon. In a short period of time, your brain will make the appropriate adjustments to sounds it doesn’t need to hear.
In order to enhance your overall comfort and speed up the adjustment period, speak to your hearing specialist if you’re experiencing trouble with the physical placement or sound quality of your hearing aids.
How Can I Enhance The Comfort of My Hearing Aids?
Thankfully, there are a few methods that have proven to be rather effective over the years.
- Start slow: If you’re breaking in your first set of hearing aids, you shouldn’t feel like you need to wear them all day, every day right off the bat. You can take your time and work your way up to it. Start by wearing your hearing aid for a couple to a few hours a day. Eventually, you will be using your hearing aids all day, when you get comfortable with them.
- Get the right fit: Hearing aids are designed to fit your ears comfortably. You’ll obviously want to talk about fit with your hearing specialist right off the bat, but you’ll also want to see your hearing specialist for follow-up fittings to be certain everything is working properly and the fit is perfect. And for maximum effectiveness and comfort, you may want to consider a custom fit hearing aid.
- Practice: The world might sound just a little bit different once you get your hearing aids. And it could take a while for your ears to adapt, specifically when it comes to speech. There are many techniques (reading along with an audiobook or watching TV with the closed captions turned on) that can help you get better at this a little faster.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
Your hearing aids might feel a little awkward 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. Wearing them every day is critical to make that transition happen.
Before long all you will have to consider is what you hear, not how you hear it.