Tanya is sitting with her hearing specialist, being fitted for her very first pair of hearing aids. And she’s feeling a little anxious. Not, you know, a lot of anxiety. But she’s never used hearing aids before, and she’s a little worried about how comfortable she’ll feel with a high tech gizmo sitting in her ear canal, particularly since she’s never been a big fan of earplugs or earbuds.
These worries are not unique to Tanya. Many first-time hearing aid users have concerns about the comfort and overall fit of their hearing aids. Tanya has every desire of wearing her hearing aids. She’s looking forward to hearing her son’s jokes and listening to her TV at a volume not likely to cause problems with the neighbors. But will those hearing aids be comfortable?
How to Adjust When You First Wear Your Hearing Aids
So, is wearing hearing aids uncomfortable? The short response is: some people experience them as a bit uncomfortable at first. Early levels of comfort will fluctuate because, like many things in life, there’s a period of adjustment. But as time passes, you’ll become accustomed to how your hearing aids feel and become more comfortable.
Often it’s just good to know that these adjustments are coming. Knowing what you should expect will help your adjustment period be smoother.
There are two steps to your adjustment:
- Adjusting to the enhanced sound quality: In some situations, the improvement in sound quality takes some getting used to. For most people who have been dealing with hearing loss for a long time, it will probably take a while to get used to hearing a full assortment of sound. When you first start using your hearing aids, it might sound a bit loud, or you may hear noises that you aren’t used to hearing. Initially, this can be annoying. For example, one patient reported that he could hear his hair rubbing against his coat. This is not unusual. In a short period of time, your brain will make the necessary adjustments to noises it doesn’t need to hear.
- Adapting to how your hearing aid feels: Your hearing specialist might recommend that you start off gradually wearing your hearing aids so you can have a little time to get accustomed to how the device feels in your ear. However, there shouldn’t be any pain involved. You should talk to your hearing specialist if your hearing aid is causing pain.
If either the quality of sound or the physical positioning of the hearing aids is disturbing you, it’s critical to talk to your hearing specialist about adjustments to help improve your overall comfort and quicken the period of adjustment.
Can I Make my Hearing Aids More Comfortable?
Over the years, fortunately, there are a few strategies that have worked fairly well.
- Practice: Once have your hearing aids, the world isn’t going to sound quite the same. And it may take some time for your ears to adapt, especially when it comes to the spoken word. In order to get the hang of it more quickly, there are a number of exercises you can do including watching a movie with caption or reading along with an audiobook.
- Get the right fit: Hearing aids are made to fit your ears well. You’ll obviously want to talk about fit with your hearing specialist right off the bat, but you’ll also want to see your hearing specialist for follow-up fittings to be certain everything is working correctly and the fit is perfect. You might also want to consider a custom fit hearing aid for maximum effectiveness and comfort.
- Start slow: You don’t need to use your hearing aids every day from morning till night right away. You can build up to that. From one to four hours every day is a good way to start. Inevitably, you will be wearing your hearing aids all day, when you become comfortable with them.
Making Your Hearing Aids More Comfortable
For the first few days or weeks, there might be some discomfort with your hearing aids. But the faster you adjust to your new hearing aids, the faster they’ll become a comfortable part of your daily life. Wearing them every day is essential to make that transition happen.
Soon all you will have to think about is what you hear, not how you hear it.