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Hearing Aid Acceptance

Dec 9

Written by:
12/9/2011 1:42 PM  RssIcon

Hearing Aids
While getting hearing aids is an important step in treating hearing loss, it is only one step.  Besides having to learn all the ins and outs of using and caring for the hearing aids, you have to adjust to amplification. 

What does this mean? 
On average, most people wait approximately 5 to 7 years before doing something about their hearing loss.  During that time, the brain gets “used to” receiving reduced and distorted auditory information from the ears.  The brain becomes accustomed to inadequate sound and eventually considers it normal.  It becomes to expect a quieter world, but the real world is a very noisy place.  So once someone is fit with hearing aids, it takes time and practice for the brain to recalibrate and adjust to what it is receiving from the ears. 

There are essentially five steps to successful hearing aid use.  Understanding and following those steps will help hearing aid wearers to successfully adjust and transition to better hearing.

1.  Acceptance

     The most important step before hearing aids are even purchased is accepting the
     hearing loss.  A person who refuses to acknowledge that their hearing loss hinders
     their ability to communicate will never successfully adjust to hearing aids.  The
     willingness to stop denying that you have a hearing loss and admit that you need help
     is critical to becoming a successful hearing aid wearer.

2.  Realistic Expectations

     Most people get new glasses, put them on and think, “I haven’t seen this well in
     years.  Everything is clear again!”  But hearing doesn’t work like vision.  Hearing
     aids will help you hear better, but not perfectly.  Knowing what hearing aids can
     and can’t do will allow you to focus on the improvements and remember that it
     can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to adequately adjust to
     wearing hearing aids.

3.  Positive Attitude

     In order to successfully adjust to hearing aids, you must not only have a desire to
     learn how to improve your ability to hear, but must approach hearing aid use with a
     positive attitude.  You need to be determined to do what it takes to succeed.

4.  Knowledge

     The more you know about your hearing loss and treatment options, the more
     effective you will be in your adjustment to hearing aid use.  Successful hearing
     requires more than hearing aids in your ears.  It’s a complex function that requires the
     interaction of the ears, eyes and the brain.  When you understands how everything
     fits together you will be better prepared to understand and adjust when things don’t
     go perfectly.     

5.  Practice, Practice, Practice

     It’s best to begin with a schedule where you wear your hearing aids part time and
     gradually work up to wearing them from the time you get up in the morning until the
     time you go to bed at night.  It also helps to begin wearing the hearing aids in easier
     listening environments like your home and one on one conversations and then
     progress to more challenging environments like restaurants, large gatherings and
     parties.  Wearing hearing aids for a couple of hours every other day or only putting
     them in your ears for those “special” occasions will guarantee a frustrating experience
     each and every time.

Adjusting to hearing aids is more like learning how to drive a car than learning how to read with glasses.  It takes time, commitment, education and patience.  So don’t give up on hearing aids.  Hearing aids can help you hear better, not perfect.  They won’t enable you to hear a pin drop at 30 feet or understand a conversation from another room.  Be patient and determined.  Hearing aids won’t give you back normal hearing, but they can improve your quality of life and your ability to communicate with your family and friends.

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