Strategies for Success with Your New Hearing Aids

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Want to know what to expect with new hearing aids? Unlike eyeglasses, which correct your vision as soon as you put them on, you’ll need some time to adjust on your journey to better hearing. While hearing aids will give you better hearing, they’re not a cure for hearing loss. If your initial expectations are too high – “I thought they would make my hearing normal!” – you’re likely to be disappointed and may give up. Learning certain strategies will optimize your success right from the start.

What you can expect from your hearing aids

As soon as you get used to your new hearing aids – and your hearing care professional has made all the necessary adjustments – you may start to feel like you’re back in the swing of things. In a short time, it’s likely that you’ll be able to join in conversation – even at parties and in noisy restaurants! Perhaps you’ll no longer feel embarrassed or frustrated because you can’t follow what’s going on. And maybe you won’t have to pretend you understand what someone has said when, in fact, you didn’t catch most of the words. In general, here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – expect from your new hearing aids.

Here’s what you can expect your hearing aids to do:

  • Help you hear and understand better in most situations
  • Allow you to participate more in group situations and meetings

Hearing aids will not:

  • Give you normal hearing

Hearing aids might not:

  • Block all background noises, especially in noisy groups (even people without hearing loss hear background noise)
  • Let you hear very soft sounds

Why it’s important to stick with your hearing aids

Hearing loss is not a harmless condition. That’s why it’s important not to give up on your hearing aids, even if there are problems at first (which is normal). Hearing loss, if it is not correctly treated, can cause people to:

  • Become isolated from their family and friends
  • Avoid parties, restaurants, and other group situations where they might not be able to follow conversations
  • Feel anxious, depressed, frustrated, and even angry
  • Have trouble at work
  • Lose self-esteem

Getting started

It may take several weeks or months to completely adjust to your hearing aids, so try not to become impatient. During the first week or so, try different listening situations, such as one-on-one conversations with family and friends and conversations with two or three people at home or in quiet places. Also, try having conversations in noisy environments, like parties, restaurants, meetings, and outdoors. But don’t forget that some situations are too noisy even for people without hearing loss, so don’t become discouraged.

To hear better, you need to listen better

Here are some tips for better listening that will help your hearing aids work better:

  • Stand close to the people you are speaking to so you can see their faces clearly and hear them better.
  • Watch the speaker’s face, lips, and gestures. This will help you follow what he or she is saying.
  • Pay attention to what is being said. (After years of not really being able to hear what people are saying, you may have lost the habit of paying attention.)
  • Don’t try too hard to hear every single word in a conversation when you are watching TV or a movie. It’s normal for everyone to miss a few words and fill them in from the surrounding words or sentences.
  • Check out what’s around you to see whether there are sources of noise (like a radio, TV, or loud conversation) that you can move away from. Or position yourself so that what you want to hear is in front of you and what you don’t want to hear is behind you. This will make it easier to hear what someone is saying to you.
  • Wear your hearing aids. The more you use them, the sooner you will get used to them.
  • If you miss something that is said, ask the person to slow down or say the same thing using different words.

Your family and friends can help

Your family and friends can help you hear better. Don’t be shy about asking them to:

  • Speak at a normal level; they don’t have to speak louder since your hearing aid will make their voices louder
  • Talk naturally and clearly – not too quickly or too slowly, too loudly or too softly
  • Turn off the radio or TV so there is less background noise
  • Get your attention before they start speaking to you
  • Talk to you face-to-face so you can see their facial expressions, lip movements, and gestures
  • Avoid turning away when they are speaking to you
  • Pronounce words clearly

Set goals – measure your progress

It’s true that you need to be your own advocate for the best outcomes with your hearing aids. Measuring your hearing progress lets you and your hearing care professional see how much you are improving. If you are not improving enough, your hearing care professional can adjust your hearing aids or recommend strategies for better hearing. Follow these three simple steps to act on your own behalf:

1. Write down your hearing goals now!

  • Write down your top five hearing goals – situations where it is especially important to you to hear better.
  • Keep a daily diary or journal of your observations in the first few weeks.

2. Rate your improvement.

  • Show your goals and your diary to your hearing care professional the first time you visit the office after getting your hearing aids. You and your hearing care professional can look at these materials to see how well you are doing.
  • Continue to keep a diary of your observations or questions for your next office visit.

3. Compare then to now.

  • At your next follow-up visit, you and your hearing care professional can rate your goals again and review your diary entries together to see how much your hearing has improved.

Your journey to better hearing starts with giving yourself time to adjust to new hearing aids. Following these helpful strategies will allow you to gradually adapt to amplified sound over a short course of time. With patience and practice, you can start to enjoy all the wonderful sounds of life again. For more information on how Sonic makes Everyday Sounds Better, visit our website at www.sonici.com today!

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