Learning to Hear Again
Getting hearing aids to treat hearing loss is an important step, but it is not the finish line. It’s a process that takes time, commitment, education, and patience. It can take four to twelve weeks to remember how to hear and for you to get accustomed to your hearing aids.
Four Steps To Hearing Success:
The first remedy for hearing loss is personal education. The more you know about your hearing loss and treatment, the more actively you can participate in your adjustment to hearing aid use. We encourage you to take advantage of our Learning to Hear Again classes. Ask us for dates and times.
2. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
The second principle of success is to set realistic expectations. Your hearing loss has been gradual; over the years you have lost the ability to hear certain sounds in the speech spectrum and normal sounds of the environment, such as traffic and wind noise, the hum of machinery and other background noises. Hearing aids will help you hear better, but not perfectly. Focus on your improvement and remember the learning curve can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks.
3. MANAGING AUDITORY CONFUSION
The brain needs time to become familiar again with the high-frequency sounds of speech and environmental noises. At first, all sounds might seem loud. The true pitch of the telephone, the sound of your clothes rustling as you walk, or the hum of your refrigerator motor might seem loud in relation to other sounds. These sounds will become part of your subconscious again as your brain begins to reorganize and prioritize them. Know that your brain will acclimate to these sounds again over time.
4. PRACTICE AND PATIENCE
Finally, the fourth principle of success is a combination of practice, time, and patience. Once you have logged sufficient hours for your brain to acclimate, you will be able to hear without thinking so much about hearing. Wear them as much as possible at first to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction and to learn which hearing aid settings work best for you in different situations. Many hearing professionals recommend listening to books on tape as a way to practice hearing and understanding. In the first few weeks, if it is too tiring, rest. Then try again. Reach out for support and stick with it. The payoff is immense. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Wear them as much as possible. The adjustment period may be tiresome. It’s a lot like retraining a muscle that has not been used in a while. But the benefits will be worth it after you’ve made the adjustment.