It can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to get accustomed to your hearing aids and get the most out of them. While you’ll notice small changes right away, it’s important to be patient to realize the most significant improvements in your hearing.

However, if you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a while, but you’re inconsistent, it will take much more time to notice a difference.

10 things to Keep in Mind to Get Your Hearing Aid to Work Even Better

Number 1: Maintain a Positive Attitude
While purchasing hearing aids is a good first step toward regaining your hearing, it is just that, a first step. To achieve the best hearing possible, you also must make a personal choice to maintain a positive attitude throughout your hearing journey. Overcoming hearing loss takes a strong desire to learn and the determination to increase your ability to hear. A positive attitude goes a long way to achieving success.

Number 2: Allow Time to Break Them In
When you first get hearing aids, they tend to feel weird. You’re not used to hearing noises well, unaccustomed to feeling something in or behind your ears, and you may not know how to work the equipment. This is totally normal. There’s going to be a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to operate your hearing aids, and eventually, you’ll get used to the feeling of having them in. Just don’t give up. Practice patience and know that there’s going to be a trial period. If you just hold out, it will be worth it in the end.

Number 3: Be Patient
Once you’ve lost your hearing, it takes a little time to get it back. Also, adapting to new hearing aids takes some time. When you first get your hearing aids, try to wear them as much as possible to learn which device settings work best for you in different situations. Wearing them often also helps you to become more skilled at recognizing sound direction. If you don’t notice improvement right away, don’t give up, thinking that this is as good as it gets.  Find an accountability buddy to help encourage you, and before you know it, you’ll start to see significant progress in your hearing abilities.

Number 4: Start in a quiet room
On day one of using your hearing aids, practice sitting in a quiet room at home to get used to hearing faint sounds, like a clock ticking or a car driving by your window. Don’t be surprised if these sounds seem really loud at first; your brain just isn’t used to hearing them anymore. But don’t worry, your mind will readjust quickly, and these sounds will seem normal again in no time. If after an adjustment period you still find that some noises are bothersome, be sure to report them to your audiologist who can make some adjustments to your hearing aids during your follow-up visit.

Number 5: Allow Your Hearing Aids to Do All the Work
The latest hearing aid technology is designed to learn from your environment, adjusting to different listening situations automatically. This can help to improve how well you hear. Therefore, they shouldn’t need to be manually adjusted very often. If you do turn them up, be careful not to make the volume too loud. By constantly changing the volume on your hearing aids, you may make it harder for them to optimize your hearing experience automatically. Give your hearing aids time to do what they were created to do. If after some time, your hearing isn’t as improved as you’d like, check back with your audiologist to see if some adjustments can be made.

Number 6: Take notes
Although you are encouraged to try the settings given by your audiologist first, he/she may also give you flexibility to adjust the volume and try different programs in specific environments that are more challenging to hear. Please take notes so your audiologist can further fine tune your hearing aids.

Number 7: Become a Good Listener
Let’s face it; we could all stand to work on our listening skills. If you’ve needed hearing aids for a while, you may have an even more difficult time actively listening. When you don’t practice a skill, over time, the connections in your brain that help you to master that skill can weaken. Providing your full attention to anyone speaking to you can cause some of the background noise to disappear, allowing you to hear them more clearly. Familiar voices are the easiest to identify, so begin having conversations with family and close friends. Pay particular attention to their body language and carefully watch their eyes and mouths as they speak. Regularly working on active listening will help to re-establish connections in the brain.

Number 8: Retrain Your Language Center
We can sometimes lose some of our ability to process spoken language prior to getting hearing aids. For some, this can result in a disconnect between heard language and read language. Ways to retrain your brain’s language center include reading a book aloud while listening to the audio version of the book at the same time, talking with a friend in a quiet environment, and turning on the captions while you watch television to practice reading and listening at the same time. You can also listen to the TV with your eyes closed, attempting to follow the show by sound only, as opposed to reading lips or using closed captioning.

Number 9: Read Aloud
If you’ve had hearing loss for a while, you may need to relearn what your own voice sounds like. Try reading a book out loud to yourself. Take your time and process what you’re hearing. Don’t be surprised if your own voice sounds funny to you at first, the sound waves from our voices travel through our jaws and the back of our heads, therefore, we don’t just hear our voices with our ears.

Number 10: Rest
The adjustment period may be tiresome. Regaining your hearing is a lot like retraining a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. And like working a muscle, it can often feel tiresome. However, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of the adjustment period in the end. Regaining the ability to hear will significantly improve your relationships and your quality of life overall.

You’re on Your Way to Hearing Better
When it comes to hearing loss, there are so many people suffering in silence. You’ve taken a big step in getting hearing aids to help correct the problem, but the work doesn’t end there. It’s important to be patient during the adjustment period and commit to practicing skills like active listening that you may have lost. In time, your hearing can often improve more than you ever imagined.

If after an adjustment period you’re still struggling with your hearing aids, don’t hesitate to contact your audiologist. It’s essential to have a specialist in your corner that can work with you to overcome your unique hearing challenges.

If You Need Your Hearing Aid Tested
Unsure if your hearing aids are working as well as they could be? Make an appointment to come into one of our two offices conveniently located in Manhattan or Brooklyn for a consultation.

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng is a NY State licensed Doctor of Audiology with over 10 years of experience working with patients of all ages. Part of her inspiration came from watching her grandmother struggle with hearing loss during her golden years.