Getting hearing aids for the first time? With new improvements in technology, and with devices that are smaller than ever, more and more people are taking that important first step to treating their hearing loss with their first set of hearing aids. But as with anything else that is new, not knowing what to expect can be intimidating. That’s why I created a list of seven things to expect when treating your hearing loss with your first set of hearing aids.
#1 Expect Your Fitting Appointment to Take at Least an Hour
While your hearing care professional should be keeping your initial fitting appointment relatively short, it still takes a lot of time to properly fit and program your hearing aids up to your hearing loss prescription. It’s also going to take them time to go over the basics of what you need to know in order to get you through that first week.
#2 No One Will Notice Your Devices
The second thing you need to know about your first set of hearing aids is that people probably won’t notice them. There is a psychological phenomenon called the spotlight effect. This is where you perceive other people to be noticing things about you, more than they actually are. And with hearing aids getting so small, even for individuals with a severe hearing loss, it is unlikely that people will really be noticing your hearing aids at all. The only thing that they’ll likely be noticing is that you’re hearing them much better.
#3 Things Will Sound Different
While you should be receiving substantial improvement in your speech clarity when people are talking to you, there are certain things that you might even find annoying that you’ll be hearing more of, such as the toilet flushing, the faucet running, or that sound of crinkling paper. But don’t worry, over time those things will get better.
#4 You May Hear Yourself Differently
Chances are you haven’t heard yourself normally in a long time. This is because your auditory feedback loop is broken when you have a hearing loss. Now if your hearing loss was bad enough, the chances are you’ve been increasing the volume of your own voice to make it sound more normal to yourself, all while making other people feel like you’re yelling at them. Now you may not like the sound of your own voice when you get your first set of hearing aids, but it only takes a few days to a few weeks for your brain to get used to the sound of your own voice, and it just becomes your new normal.
#5 You’ll Probably Forget You’re Even Wearing Hearing Aids
Whether you’re getting in-the-ear hearing aids or behind-the-ear hearing aids, chances are that they’ll end up being so comfortable that you’ll forget that you’re even wearing them. This is true for in-the-ear hearing aids and behind-the-ear hearing aids alike. Even if you have a custom ear mold, it may take a few times to get it modified the right way to where it makes it extremely comfortable for you, but eventually you’ll end up doing silly things like getting into the shower with your hearing aids on, and even going to sleep with your hearing aids on. The hearing aids might also tickle a little bit at first, but that generally subsides within a few days to a few weeks.
#6 Return Visits
You should be expecting to go in to see a hearing care professional several times after they first fit you with your devices. Getting your first set of hearing aids should not be a one and done single visit – you should be going in multiple times to see that hearing care professional, to make sure that you’re adapting correctly, and to make sure that they’re maximizing the performance of those devices. One thing they should be doing is a measurable outcome, both before your hearing aids and after your hearing aids, so they can show you on a scale how much improvement you’re actually receiving with those hearing aids.
#7 You Should Be Hearing Better
If you truly are a candidate for hearing aids, and your hearing care professional is fitting them and programming them correctly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be receiving clear benefit from your new hearing aids. Perhaps the single most important factor that will determine your success with your first set of hearing aids is if you had real ear measures performed on them. Now if you don’t know what real ear measures are, I highly recommend that you watch my video about real ear measures and what to expect.
Receiving your first set of hearing aids should be an exciting time. Just think of all of those sounds that you haven’t heard in who knows how long. For some of you, that’s probably years! Now that you know what to expect when getting your first set of hearing aids, there is nothing to worry about.