A richer, more rewarding, and independent lifestyle is awaiting those who use hearing aids to treat hearing loss. However, as your loved one begins using hearing aids, you should expect a gradual change, which can be quite challenging in the first weeks and months.

Here are some tips for the loved ones of Northern Illinois residents who recently started using hearing aids to help them adapt during this exciting and challenging period.

Educate Yourself

A greater understanding of hearing processes, hearing loss, and hearing aids better equip you to support your loved one.

It is necessary to understand that the brain makes processing adjustments, compensating for weak hearing by increasing sound sensitivity.

Hearing aid sound amplification produces a sudden shock within this hypersensitive environment, which often leads to pain, stress, headaches, and other reactions.

To reap the benefits of hearing aids, your loved one will have to work through this discomfort, so he or she will need your extra support and encouragement.

Become Supportive and Compassionate

As you educate yourself and understand what your loved one is going through, it is necessary to take on a supportive and compassionate attitude.

This type of attitude includes understanding that the changes are not instant, which can be frustrating to your loved one, who has placed his or her hope in achieving better hearing through hearing aids.

Understanding those frustrations while using your compassion to encourage your loved one to keep moving forward with the treatment is critical.

Establish Realistic Expectations

Adjusting to new hearing aids can take anywhere from a few weeks all the way up to four months, depending on hearing loss severity and how your loved one tolerates change.

Since you cannot expect an instant change, it is necessary to help establish realistic goals as your loved works through challenges like:

  • the volume of his or her own voice
  • skin and muscle discomfort around the ears
  • adjusting to the amplification of troublesome sounds (traffic, the refrigerator motor, chirping crickets, etc.)
  • maintaining and troubleshooting the device

Assist with the Practice/Rest Approach

One of the best approaches to adjusting to hearing aids is the practice/rest approach.

This approach includes using the device for a set period of time and then taking breaks from it throughout the day.

The goal is to increase the length of time the device is worn while decreasing the duration and frequency of rest periods.

This is where realistic expectations are critical.

Tips you might consider as you and your loved one use this approach include:

  • reading aloud to help speed up the adjustment to their own voice
  • tend to skin and muscle irritation by using massage, lotions, and other remedies
  • master hearing aid use at home before tackling sounds from the outside world

Get the Support You Need from Fox Valley ENT

Adjusting to hearing aids can be quite challenging, but the benefits are both numerous and highly rewarding.

You can be a positive part of your loved one’s journey to greater independence and more rewarding life quality.

The team at Fox Valley ENT knows how challenging it is for new hearing aid wearers to adjust, and we are eager to help ease that transition so that they can take advantage of the benefits ASAP.

If your loved one struggles with the challenges of new hearing aids, encourage them to visit their hearing care provider, and contact us for additional support.

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Joseph, T Pacer

Joe Pacer has been an Audiologist with Fox Valley Ear, Nose & Throat Associates since 1988. He received his Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Northern Illinois University in 1986 where he continued and received his Master of Arts in Audiology in 1988. He is a member of the American Academy of Audiology. Joe works closely with his patients and has extensive experience performing hearing evaluation as well as recommending, fitting and trouble shooting hearing aids.