Congratulations on Your New Hearing Instruments
Congratulations for taking the first step towards better hearing. Over 30 million Americans of all ages have a hearing loss. On average, one out of every three individuals ages 65 years and older have a significant hearing loss. Hearing loss can negatively impact your quality-of-life, personal relationships, communication ability, and it can cause depression. Taking the steps to correct this problem is sure to benefit your quality of life.
Enjoying the ability to communicate is likely to be affected when you have hearing difficulties.
Communication is a basic need for all of us. What is more important than the sounds of your love ones, listening to the music that you enjoy, and fully experiencing the beautiful sounds of life?
Adjusting to your hearing instrument
Over the years, hearing instruments have evolved into complete communication systems. Although no hearing instrument can completely restore your hearing to normal, today’s hearing instruments offer outstanding sound quality and comfort while looking exceptionally discrete. They attack problems like feedback and background noise issues by using wireless technology.
Don’t expect to hear everything
Don’t expect to have superhuman hearing. Even people with normal hearing cannot hear everything. While many of today’s hearing instruments work automatically to adjust the volume in different environments yours may be equipped with a manual volume control. Discuss adjusting the volume with your hearing healthcare professional. Remember turning the volume up too high can result in distortion and that sound can lead to discomfort.
Get comfortable wearing your hearing instruments.
Hearing instruments are made to be worn, on average, 16 hours a day. Your hearing instrument should become a normal part of your life, similar to wearing your glasses. Get up in the morning and put your hearing instruments in at the beginning of your day. At night, take your hearing instruments out before going to bed. This will increase your success with hearing aids. As the auditory system hears more it will understand more.
Getting adjusted to the sound of your own voice
Hearing loss affects how you hear your own voice. It is very likely that at first, your voice will sound different to you as you get used to your hearing instruments, and this is normal. The more consistently you wear the hearing instruments, the better your own voice will sound. This process can take up to two weeks.
Hearing instruments are designed to provide you with a greater range of sound. Encountering all of these new sounds may surprise you at first. Here are some helpful hints:
If you are having difficulty and everything is just to loud, don’t take your hearing aids out, just turn them down. If you cannot turn them down you can come into the office and we can start an acclimation program designed for you. That is a program that will slowly step you into the amplification you need over a period time without having to come into the office for adjustments.
Have a positive attitude and be committed to wearing your hearing instruments every day. If at any initial point you need to take a break then do so, but come back to wearing your hearing instrument as soon as possible. The more you use the hearing device the more your auditory system will get used to the hearing aids. Remember you don’t just hear with your ears….you understand in your brain. This is a process that can take up to 6 months.
Being active listener.
Your new hearing instruments will make it easier to communicate effectively in all situations. However, even people with normal hearing have to be active listeners, and take advantage of speech and environmental cues in order to understand in many situations. Everyone will follow conversation better when they concentrate and learn to ignore the unwanted sounds. You may be aware of many sounds around you that you do not recognize. These are sounds of daily life that you have not heard in a long time. Try to identify sounds you do not recognize and make a conscious decision to ignore the ones that are not important. Again the auditory process will help with this process the more you use your hearing aids.
We live in an increasingly noisy world and your new hearing instruments will reintroduce you to many sounds you may have forgotten with time.You will learn how to focus on what you want to hear and tune out the rest. Visiting public places such as restaurants, theaters and other noisy places can be challenging for the hearing instrument wearer. Sit where listening conditions are best. Look closely at your environment and choose wisely. Be sure to sit where you have an unobstructed view of the speaker. In a restaurant, try to sit away from doorways, restrooms or the kitchen. When listening to the radio and television concentrate on trying to follow the overall meaning rather than the individual word. Even people with normal hearing miss some parts of conversations on the radio or the television.
Using the telephone
Be sure that you are holding the telephone near the microphones on your hearing aids. Very often you will hold the receiver where you were used to holding the phone. Many times with the behind the ear hearing aid the microphone is behind your ear and that’s where you need to place the telephone so you can hear properly. Most hearing instruments today have special circuitry to help cancel or minimize feedback allowing you to use the telephone without any special switches or equipment. If you’re still unable to hear with the phone, notify your hearing healthcare professional and they may be able to help you with this problem. There are also options of assistive listening devices. They can provide connections between your hearing instruments and telephones such as wireless systems, FM systems, computers, MP3 players and more (wireless hearing aids are cool).
Hearing with both ears.
Some patients question why they should wear two hearing aids instead of one. With the hearing loss in both ears, it makes sense to wear two hearing instruments. We are born with two ears. When compared to listening with one ear…with two ears you are able to tell sound localization (what direction the sound is coming from). We can control the sounds going in and out of your ears so we can control background noise better by using wireless technology, noise reduction and directional microphone. The brain is able to process the sound better when it uses the binaural effect ( that is when you are hearing from two ears and using both sides of the brain.)
Hearing loss can affect many things. It can affect your family and friends, it can affect your job, it can affect your level of stress. Support and consideration from friends and family is a major help to someone who is getting used to wearing hearing instrument. Hearing loss is invisible and in many cases occurs gradually over many years but any degree of hearing loss has an effect on the people around us. Friends and family members should not avoid conversations with those with hearing loss. This is a new day and it is time to enjoy better communication.
Talking with someone who has hearing loss
Speak clearly, pay attention to making each speech sound fully formed without missing any parts or dropping word endings.
Do not shout, this causes speech to distort and often will become uncomfortable to a person with hearing loss.
When you say words and sentences in a precise, accurate, and fully formed manner, a person with hearing loss is better able to follow conversation. Get closer- the ideal distance for normal conversation is approximately 3 feet. Do not try to communicate from another room unless it’s necessary. If possible move away from the background noise and towards the hearing impaired person. Do not try to have a conversation in rooms with numerous noises.
Turn down the volume of competing noise, do not try to talk over the TV or the radio. When possible choose quieter restaurants- if someone with normal hearing has difficulty hearing in a restaurant, a person with hearing loss will have even more difficulty.
Use better communication skills when living with somebody who has hearing impairment. Speak slow and clear.
Face the person who has the hearing loss when speaking. Make sure the listener can see your face and lips, visual cues are very helpful to understanding the conversation. Keep your hands away from your mouth.
Periodically cue the topic. This will help fill in the blanks for things that cannot be heard. Be encouraging to the person with the hearing loss as communication starts to improve. Do not talk to the spouse partner, family member or friend instead of the person who has the hearing loss. Talk to the person not around them. This can make them feel not a part of the conversation and it can aid in that person withdrawing from social events or in some cases more.
Be courteous to the feelings of the person with the hearing loss. Do not be patronizing. Hearing loss has nothing to do with lower intelligence.
People with hearing impairments often wait more than seven years before actually doing something about their hearing loss. But you don’t have to keep missing out on things. The quicker you do something about your hearing, the quicker you can enjoy better communication with your family, friends and your loved ones. Bring back your quality of life.