(Last updated Oct 6, 2018)

5 Things a First Time Hearing Aid User Should Expect

When I walked into the hearing clinic to purchase my first pair of hearing aids 15 years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. It had taken me a long time to make the decision of purchasing hearing aids, and I was now looking forward to this technology.
After only a few days with my new hearing aids and I realized how many sounds I had been missing out on for so many years. I wish I’d bought them sooner!

Wearing hearing aids for the first time can be a satisfying experience, but it’s not as simple as wearing glasses. Here are five things that I did not expect when purchasing hearing aids for the first time:

1. It will all sound louder than you expect. This is interesting, because I totally didn’t anticipate that I’d suddenly have the opposite problem. From too quiet to too loud in a very short time! It is entirely normal if at the beginning things will sound too loud, just give your brain the time to adjust. Typically your hearing dispenser will increase the gain (kinda like the “volume”) on your hearing aids gradually so that your brain has the time to become familiar with the new stimuli.

2. You might feel tired at the end of the day. As your brain is still adjusting, it’ll have to work harder to make sense of the new sounds, so it’s entirely normal to feel fatigued at the end of the day. Make sure you increase usage time gradually and that you give your ears an extra break from time to time.

3. Your own voice will sound strange. And loud. And a little robotic maybe. This is also normal. You should get used to it fairly quickly. I got so used to it that I now feel lost when I’m speaking without my hearing aids. I miss hearing the full range of frequencies and nuances of my voice!

4. Hearing aids help immensely. But they won’t restore your hearing 100%. Hearing aids are a pretty neat piece of tech, but they’re not as smart as the brain + a pair of perfectly functioning ears (yet). There are many situations in which they work very well, like one-to-one in quiet situations, watching TV, small dinners at home, small lectures (hearing aids saved my life at university!).

On the other hand, if you’re in a very noisy situation, like in a bar, hearing aids
perform less well because loud noise interferes with speech. You’ll have to be aware of this and try to position yourself away from obvious sources of noise such as loudspeakers or choose quieter venues when possible.

5. There are very useful hearing aid accessories. With a streamer you can stream phone call, TV audio, music and more directly into your hearing aids. And with a remote microphone you can hear your spouse clearly even at a loud restaurant. I wish I’d bought all the accessories I own now as soon as I started wearing hearing aids. If you’d like more info on this topic, read my article on the 3 most popular hearing aid accessories.

I hope this list will help you manage your expectations when purchasing hearing aids for the first time. If you’re already a hearing aid owner, are there any more things you wish you’d known before you purchased you hearing aids? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Gianluca Trombetta Gianluca Trombetta Gianluca Trombetta is a hearing aid user and an expert in living well with hearing loss. He teaches hearing aid users how to maximize their communication abilities even in the most challenging situations at getsuperhumanhearing.com.

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