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Adjusting to Your Hearing Aid/Realistic Expectations

Adjustment
 
If you've grown accustomed to living with hearing loss, you may find at first that a hearing aid bombards you with sound. All the background noises people take for granted suddenly overload your ears. Eventually, you will learn to tune out unwanted sounds again.
 
Use your trial period to field-test your hearing aid thoroughly. Make sure you can work the controls and change the battery, and see how well you can understand speech in a variety of situations. Don't hesitate to return to the person who sold you the hearing aid. Most people take more than one visit to find the optimal model and to have it adjusted correctly.
 
Make use of aural rehabilitation, which your audiologist may offer. Especially if your hearing loss is moderate to severe, you will find the world sounds very different when amplified through a tiny acoustical device. A good rehabilitation program will train you to pick out speech against a variety of background noises.
 
In addition, it will teach you how to sharpen your awareness of visual cues to add to your new auditory information. Finally, the program should offer counseling, support and advice to you and your family on coping with the psychological and social problems of hearing loss.
 
For more advice, you may want to contact your local chapter of Self Help for the Hard-of-Hearing (SHHH), a national organization that offers information, counseling, and group support.
 
Realistic Expectations
 
Before you begin the process of obtaining hearing aids, it is important to have realistic expectations. Hearing aids will allow you to:
  • Hear many sounds that you may not be able to hear, or may not hear clearly, without amplification. Examples of such sounds include soft speech, children's voices and other quiet sounds.
  • Understand speech more clearly, and with less effort, in a variety of listening situations
  • Prevent normally loud sounds from becoming uncomfortably loud. Sounds that are uncomfortably loud for normal-hearing individuals may also be uncomfortable when using hearing aids.
  • Understand speech more clearly in some types of noisy situations

Hearing aids will not do the following:

  • Restore your hearing capabilities to normal or to pre-existing levels
  • Filter out background noise. Some hearing aids can reduce amplification of some types of background noise, but may have a similar effect on speech information. Nonetheless, this will often produce improved sound quality and a more comfortable listening experience in many types of noisy environments.

In addition, hearing aids will require time to get used to and to attain your maximum performance potential as you gradually become accustomed to amplification.