A good hearing aid opens up a whole new world of sound. You’ll be able to hear your phone ringing, the birds chirping in your garden, and also the annoying traffic noise. After living with hearing loss for a long time, you may be surprised by all the sounds that come back when you wear a hearing aid for the first time.
At first, some sounds may feel too loud, which can be quite overwhelming and stressful. Don’t be alarmed, but take the time you need to get used to your new hearing aids.
One thing’s for sure – you will not want to be without your hearing aid once you get used to it. Meanwhile, in this post, you can read about what you can expect from your first hearing aid.
What To Expect in The First Few Weeks
Depending on how impaired your hearing is, you may only hear muffled sounds or you may not hear certain sounds at all. This instantly changes with a hearing aid. During the adjustment period, everyday life can particularly seem very noisy, especially in the beginning when you have a new hearing aid. Your voice and simple and ordinary sounds that you recognize may sound different. This is part of the first stages of the adjustment period so don’t be alarmed as it will get better.
Your ears must get used to the feeling of a hearing aid. The brain must suddenly process new impressions. It may have been a long time since you heard all these sounds and many background sounds that a normal hearing person ignores can sound new to you and it may be difficult for you to ignore them at first.
As you learn to deal with all the acoustic impressions, your brain will also learn to ignore background noise again and concentrate on more important sounds. You have to be patient and after a few weeks or months, you will not even notice that you’re wearing a hearing aid.
How It Works and Sounds
The sound is picked up by the microphone and then converted into electrical signals. The small computer chip inside the hearing aid processes the signal. The chip can perform a huge amount of calculations per second to optimize the sound even in noisy environments. The sound then goes via the amplifier to the speaker which sends the sound into the ear canal. Then it’s transmitted via the eardrum, auditory ossicles, and inner ear further through the auditory nerve up to the brain and we can hear what is being said.
Technology development in hearing aids is advancing rapidly, and world-leading hearing aid providers, like the Phonak hearing aids brand, are investing heavily in improving technical performance and offering a variety of styles to match a person’s lifestyle needs and preferences. The ultimate goal is to dramatically improve the quality of life and reduce limitations created by hearing loss.
As we said, most people who try hearing aids for the first time experience that both their voice and all other sounds sound different. Therefore, you must continue to train with hearing aids so that your brain has a chance to adapt to the new sounds. This requires practice, time, and patience.
Hearing Aid Functions
Hearing aids work in several channels, one can say that it divides the hearing curve into several parts and works with amplification and automatic functions in each channel. The more channels, the more pleasant and accurate sound. The hearing aid works dynamically, which means that it provides more amplification for weak sounds than strong sounds.
Other functions that work automatically in the hearing aid are, for example, noise suppression, directing, frequency transposition, and detecting signals similar to speech. Hearing aids look different and have different functions. There is often the option of volume control, either via a button on the hearing aid or via remote control.
Most hearing aids continuously read the sound environment and change settings automatically so that speech is heard as well as possible. Nevertheless, you may sometimes need to tailor the hearing aid to different environments by installing different listening programs. The audiologist can use the functions above to optimize how we perceive speech in different environments. We may want more or less amplification in specific frequencies and the audiologist can adjust this.
The hearing aid may first feel foreign, just like new glasses or contact lenses do. This will change after a short adjustment period. Give yourself time to get used to it, but contact your audiologist, if you have any questions or problems.