In The Drawer Syndrome
Estimates are that at least 12 to 18% of people become frustrated too soon with their hearing aids and end up not wearing them or leaving them “in the drawer”. Hearing aid users need to have realistic expectations around hearing aid use. The longer you live with untreated hearing loss, the more your brain loses the ability to process speech and noises. That’s why it is so important to gradually get used to your new hearing aids without overtaxing yourself or your hearing. When you first start using your hearing aids, be ready to give yourself time to adjust and consider the following advice:
Sometimes your ear may have a feeling of fullness or tightness when the ear mould is in your ear. Try to get used to this feeling. It should disappear after you practice wearing your aid for a while. If the feeling does not go away, consult your hearing healthcare professional. An adjustment may need to be made to the mould.
You will hear the sound of your own voice, as well as, internal sounds, such as swallowing. Try reading aloud to yourself and learn to correct the volume of your own voice while you are wearing the hearing aid(s).
Your hearing aids should not hurt. If you feel pain associated with the discomfort, consult your hearing healthcare professional.
Try first to wear your new hearing aid(s) in quiet surroundings. Now is not the time to try out your hearing aids at a concert. Instead, try wearing it at home and try to get used to the new sound quality. Sounds like the ticking of a clock, the humming of a computer, or the rustling of paper may seem very loud to you at first.
When you are ready, try exposing yourself to a noisier situation such as a dinner table conversation with more than two people.
When you are ready to leave the house with your new hearing aids, start by going to quiet environments, such as a library or bank and avoid large crowds and noisy places.
Listen to your own voice. It will probably sound louder and different than it did before. You may have to re-learn to speak at a comfortable volume.
Learn to recognize sounds that you have not heard for a long time.
Practice using your eyes as well as your ears. Watch for facial expressions, lip and body movements. This will help you in understanding conversations.
Be patient with yourself! Slowly but surely the world will start to sound “in balance”. In fact, after a couple of weeks, first-time hearing aid users report the joy of hearing laughing children, birds chirping and rain on the roof.