Is There an Adjustment Period for Hearing Aids?
When a hearing healthcare professional fits you with a new hearing aid, it will greatly improve your hearing – but it will also take some time to adjust. To help you through this phase of your new listening lifestyle, here are some answers to why it’s necessary, how long it will take, and what you can expect along the way.
Why do I need to adjust to hearing aids?
Hearing aids don’t simply restore your hearing to what it was before – they change the way you hear. Instead of hearing naturally through your ear canal, sounds will be filtered and amplified through a device. This can lead to what many describe as the sensation of plugged-up ears and changes the way other usual sounds are perceived – even your own voice.
Secondly, your brain’s auditory processing center has adjusted to the way your hearing loss has changed sound input gradually, sometimes over many years. When you start to clearly hear sounds you haven’t processed in a long time, it may be overwhelming and even stressful at first.
How long will it take for me to adjust?
Most of these issues fade away after a few weeks, but some individuals may take up to four months to adjust. It all depends on your situation – how long you’ve had hearing loss, how severe your hearing loss is, and how adaptable you are to change.
Your hearing care provider will check in with you after your hearing aid fitting to make sure you’re adjusting well and to address any lingering concerns like a poor fit or programming.
How do I help myself adjust to hearing aids?
The best way to help yourself is to wear your hearing aids and engage with them as much as possible. You’ll receive a recommended wear schedule from your hearing healthcare professional that gradually increases the total hours a day you’re wearing your hearing aid until you’re comfortable wearing them most of the time. Still, it’s important to tune into your body and wear your hearing aids for as long as they feel comfortable.
Although you should wear your hearing aids as much as possible, start out in environments that are comfortable and provide low-level stimulation, such as your home. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or burned out if you expose yourself too soon or too frequently to challenging settings.
Most of all, be patient with yourself. It will take time to get used to how your hearing aids work and help you hear.
What if I’m not adjusting?
Within the first few weeks and months or wear, some challenges are normal, but if problems with your hearing aids persist beyond that, contact with your hearing care specialist for help. Hearing aids frequently require program or fit adjustments after some experience in the real world, so don’t be discouraged – go to the hearing care provider who can help you resolve the issue and help you make the most out of your new hearing.