Most people don’t know what to expect from hearing aids, even after conducting research and talking to other hearing aid wearers. In addition, myths and second-hand experience with old-fashioned analog hearing aids continues to influence the way people think about all hearing aids. But the truth of the matter is hearing aids have changed drastically from outward appearance to internal technology–making them vastly more effective.
“I can look people in the eye rather than watching their lips to understand what they’re saying.”
“For me, not wearing hearing aids would be like not wearing glasses. I need them to fully participate in life.”
How Hearing Aids Sound
Your experience begins the first time you wear hearing aids. You should expect a dramatic improvement in hearing. With hearing aids, you will suddenly hear sounds that you lost the ability to hear years ago. It will take time to adjust and retrain your brain to recognize speech sounds that are no longer distorted by hearing loss; sometimes the length of the adjustment period is proportionate to the amount of change hearing aids are providing or to the age of the wearer.
The quality of sound you hear using hearing aids is subjective. However, this list will help you set expectations:
- Your ability to hear and understand others should be improved. Other people’s voices shouldn’t sound distorted, harsh, tinny, raspy, sharp, booming, muffled or artificial.
- The sound of your own voice should be “normal” not tinny, harsh, raspy, distorted, booming, muffled or artificial. Your own voice should not sound like you’re in a barrel or have an echo.
- The intensity and quality of familiar sounds should be sharp, bright and clear–not dull or irritating.
- The amount of sound you hear should match the environment. In crowded room with many people talking at once, sound will be loud but not deafening.
- Hearing aids should help you distinguish speech from noise. Hearing aids should be adjusted to optimize this feature.
- When properly tuned, hearing aids should help you identify the location of a sound or voice.
How Hearing Aids Feel?
If you’ve never worn hearing aids, you won’t know what to expect in terms of “fit.” Just like a shoe or another item of clothing, your hearing aids must be comfortable in order to ensure you can and will wear them. You should not feel as though your ears are plugged nor should you experience pressure or discomfort of any kind. Hearing aids should not move or whistle when you chew, swallow or smile.
How Hearing Aids Work, When Working Properly?
As you learn how to use your hearing aids, pay attention to the functionality listed below to document your experience for discussion in follow-up appointments with your hearing specialist.
- Is your ability to understand others improved?
- Does your own voice sound natural?
- Are you able to hear soft sounds?
- Is the level of amplification comfortable?
- Are you able to wear the earpieces comfortably for extended periods?
- Are your hearing aids adequately controlling background noises?
- Are you comfortable with the appearance of your hearing aids?
Are you able to identify the location of sounds with your hearing aids?