If someone is referred to an audiologist to have their hearing tested to check for their suitability for a hearing aid, that person will often have a lot of questions and assumptions about what a hearing aid will mean for them.
Once the tests highlight the level of hearing loss and the type of hearing aid that might be suitable for an individual’s needs, there will be quite a few thoughts and considerations swirling around their mind, and they need to ask any questions and voice any queries they have.
As with any other appointment, knowing what to expect can help a person to get the most out of their initial consultation, tests, fitting appointment and the hearing aids themselves, so here are some first-time expectations.
After your hearing test and the related consultations to find out your particular needs and budget, you will have an additional fitting appointment, which can be as early as the same day or can take a couple of weeks if a custom mould or an open fitting is required.
During the hour-long fitting session, your audiologist will not only show you how to put in the hearing aid but also test and programme it so the settings are right for your needs.
They will tweak the pitch and the volume to make sure it is right for you, make adjustments for your preferences and teach you the basics to operate them.
This includes how to change the batteries, how to switch them on and off, volume control, programs and what they are used for, how to clean and maintain the hearing aids, as well as how to put them back into their case or charging station, if applicable.
The Adjustment Process
It can be hard to describe just how different hearing can be with and without a hearing aid, but these sudden and often substantial benefits can also take some getting used to.
The process of hearing takes place both in the ear canal and in the brain, and the louder and clearer noises can take a little bit of time for your brain to adjust to, especially if your brain has adapted to muffled, distorted or quieter sounds for a while.
In particular, you may start hearing background noises that you might not have heard for a while, such as the hum of electronics, the rustling of paper, footsteps or the ticks of mechanical devices such as clocks.
It is ultimately a gradual process and the more you retrain your brain, the better you will adjust. If you initially find them uncomfortable, start by gradually wearing them for a short time in quiet settings such as in the morning and at night, before wearing them for longer and in environments with more noise.
As well as this, if you have in-ear hearing aids, your air can feel blocked or muffled for a bit before your ear adjusts to the sensation.
Whilst there will be a follow-up appointment after two weeks, it can take up to three months to completely adjust, depending on how often you wear them.