When you first start to wear your hearing aids, all sounds may seem to jump out at you. This is because over the years that your loss was developing, you learned to adjust to not hearing well. It will take time and practice to learn to listen again and to learn to sort out the important words and sounds.
Learning to listen again does not happen immediately for most people. That is why it is important to start out wearing your hearing aids for a little bit each day and gradually increase the time until you are wearing them all day. If you are able to wear them all day immediately, congratulations! If not, you will be able to eventually. Be patient with yourself and progress at your own pace.
Wear your hearing aids at home for the first week, even if you are alone most of the time.
Wear the hearing aids each day for as long as you feel comfortable. Put them in in the morning when getting dressed and ready for the day. It is important to get used to the feel of them in your ears. You should feel them when they are inserted in your ears. Take them out if you get tired or irritated. Wait an hour or so before trying them again. Try to wear them for longer and longer periods – 3 – 4 times a day. Do not continue to wear if you are having any discomfort or pain. (If you are experiencing difficulty, contact us to let us know)
Listen to the sounds in your home carefully and become accustomed to them. Rustle newspapers and listen to their crackle. Notice how dishes and cutlery clang. You may notice the phone and doorbell sound loud. Listen to the hum of your fridge, air conditioner or furnace. Does the water faucet or toilet flushing sound like Niagara Falls? Just listen to everyday sounds around you. Can you identify them?
Read out loud to yourself and listen to the sound of your voice. It may sound louder and a different tone – but only to you. You will sound the same to other as you always have. This also helps to retrain your listening system to hear and understands letters and listening system by hearing letters being called out. Every little bit helps.
Talk with only one person at a time, if possible, in a quiet room. This easy listening situation will allow you to become accustomed to the sound of amplified speech without distractions. Each conversation can be a practice session. Try to determine if your preset volume is suitable for most situations or if you feel you need it turned up or down (discuss this at your one week checkup).
Continue practicing week one tasks, but for longer periods of time.
Wear the hearing aids for as many hours as you can. Ideally you should be able to wear them all day without being very aware of them.
Start wearing your hearing aids outside of your home and listen to the sounds around you. Try to identify traffic noise, birds singing, or conversations.
Talk with and practice listening to more than one person at a time. Do this step each day if possible. It takes practice to be able to distinguish one voice from another. Remember to cue into the conversation and watch people when they are talking.
Talk with one or more people in a slightly noisy situation. For example, turn on the radio or TV so you can hear it, but not too loudly. Normally you don’t want to deliberately interfere with normal communication, but this is to help you practice listening in background noise. Continue with this through the weeks to come until you feel more confident.
Begin wearing your hearing aids in public places. This should be continued until you have experienced wearing your aid(s) in most situations. Start by wearing them to church, for example. Gradually expose yourself to noisier situations like the grocery store or the mall, and finally to restaurants and large social gatherings.