Most people don't know what to expect from hearing aids. Misconceptions and second-hand experience with bulky, whistling, old-fashioned analog devices continue to influence the way people think about all hearing aids.
Hearing aids have changed dramatically from a generation ago -- from outward appearance to internal technology -- making them vastly more appealing and effective.
This blog will hopefully help you set expectations for the performance of your new hearing aids- how they sound, feel and work.
How Your Hearing Aids Should Sound
Getting acclimated to wearing your new hearing aids is different for each person. But once you are, you should notice a big difference in how the world sounds.
- Your ability to hear and understand others should be improved
- Other people's voices shouldn't sound distorted, harsh, tinny, sharp, booming or muffled
- The sound of your own voice should be "normal", not sound like your in a barrel
- The intensity and quality of familiar sounds should be sharp, bright and clear -- not dull or irritating
- In a crowded room with many people talking at once, sound should be loud but not deafening
- Wearing hearing aids in both ears should help you identify the location of a sound or voice
- Hearing and communicating in quiet environments (home, work, doctor's office) should be improved
- Your ability to hear and understand speech in environments with background noise (restaurants or dining parties, for instance) should be improved
- Your hearing aids should help you understand speech in larger environments where there is reverberation (lecture halls, worship spaces, movie theaters)
- Loud sounds (sirens, traffic, construction sounds) should not be uncomfortable but you should hear them clearly
Five tips to get even more out of your hearing aids:
If you wear directional hearing aids, sit facing the wall with the restaurant noise behind you
Take them into your hearing professional for regular cleaning and maintenance
Make sure to keep fresh batteries on hand
Turn off hearing aids or remove battery when not in use
- In public places with acoustic challenges (theaters or conference halls), it is best to sit in the front and center of the room, where it offers the best acoustics
Smart steps for first-time wearers
Wear them at home in a quiet environment for the first few days
Practice having a conversation with your spouse or a loved one
Read out loud for 10-15 minutes a day
Wear them only a few hours each day for the first two weeks
Take breaks when you feel tired
Do online skills training exercises
Set realistic expectations: hearing aids won't restore your hearing to normal- but they will make listening easier and much more enjoyable again