In part three of our special “Ask the Expert” series, an Amplifon Hearing Health Care audiologist, Carrie Meyer, Au.D., answers a frequently-asked question related to hearing loss and hearing aids.
Here's the Question:
“I know I need hearing help, but I have questions. Can hearing aids help me? And what’s it really like to start wearing hearing aids?”
Dr. Meyer's Answer:
Only a hearing care provider can determine whether you need hearing aids, based on a thorough hearing evaluation. The good news is that about 95% of sensorineural hearing loss (the most common type of hearing loss) can be helped with hearing aids.
Once the need has been verified, your provider will work with you to find the best solution for your specific needs, lifestyle and preferences. Thanks to advances in technology, today’s hearing aids are better than ever, in terms of sound quality, the ability to hear conversations in noisy environments and convenience features such as wireless connectivity to smartphones.
However, before you can fully enjoy all these advantages, you’ll probably need to go through an adjustment period. At first, you may not even notice a significant improvement in your hearing. Here’s why: Hearing actually takes place in your brain, even though your ears are responsible for collecting the sounds around you. Over time, your brain has adapted to your hearing loss and may require some time to adjust to improved hearing ability.
Secondly, you may notice sounds you haven’t heard for a long time, such as your stomach rumbling or the hum of a refrigerator motor. Also, your own voice may sound too loud or unnatural, and you may have difficulty separating desirable sounds, such as speech in a conversation, from unwanted background noise. Rest assured, these issues will gradually fade away as your brain adapts to the hearing aids. With time, your hearing aids will become almost like natural extensions of your ears!
Tips for new hearing aid wearers
I’d like to share some tips for making a successful — and easier — transition to new hearing aids:
- Wear your hearing aids daily. Start out with an hour or two of use per day, or as instructed by your hearing care provider. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing your hearing aids all day!
- Initially, wear your hearing aids in quieter environments, such as at home or in a library. Ease your way slowly into noisier, more crowded settings.
- Have conversations with close friends or family in quiet environments to get used to the sound of your own voice.
- Set realistic expectations. Remember that even people with “normal hearing” can have trouble hearing conversations in noisy places.
- Keep your aftercare appointments, and let your provider know if you’re experiencing issues. Typically, new hearing aids require three to five follow-up visits to ensure proper fit and functioning.
- Stay positive! People who are determined to improve their hearing ability and stick with it are most likely to realize the greatest benefit from their hearing aids.
We’ll help you take the next step
I hope this answers your questions and puts you at ease about moving forward in your journey to better hearing. Amplifon Hearing Health Care is ready to help you take the next step — click here to request an appointment with a qualified provider near you.