Are your expectations realistic?
A critical factor in success and acceptance of hearing instruments is to set realistic expectations of hearing capabilities. No one would expect that a new design of a shoe can make them run as fast as they did when they were sixteen. Inevitable biological changes make that level of performance next to impossible to achieve, even with the help of new technology. In much the same way, hearing instruments, no matter how technically advanced, will restore only some degree of the hearing capabilities that have been lost. In addition, the greater the hearing loss, the more difficult it becomes to restore capabilities that may have once existed.
Some things to expect initially when adjusting to new hearing instruments:
- For many, wearing hearing instruments will not give instant gratification. There is a learning curve which usually takes from six weeks to six months. Success comes from daily practice and a commitment to wear them throughout your waking hours.
- At first, your own voice may sound strange. In addition to hearing yourself internally like usual, you will be hearing yourself through the instruments.
- The "tinny" or mechanical sounds you hear are expected. These are the soft, high frequency sounds you have been missing and should help you understand speech better. Be patient while your brain gets reacquainted with them
- The way the hearing instrument feels in your ear may seem a little full at first, but it should never cause pain. Twenty percent of the time, hearing instrument shells must be modified or remade for a better fit.
- "Background noise" is normal. Normal-hearing people hear it too. Don't give up just because noise bothers you. Loud sounds should appear loud, but not uncomfortable.
- If your hearing was lost suddenly or has been lost over time, you will not hear again like you once did with normal hearing. This is true regardless of the type of hearing loss you have or the type of hearing instruments you wear. Similar to dentures, hearing instruments are only a substitute for the original. With them, you may live a near-normal life; without them, you will certainly be handicapped.
- Focus on your improvement, not on those negative times when your hearing instruments don't let you hear everything you want to hear. Your hearing instruments' job is to help you hear better, not perfectly.
- Remember that a hearing instrument is an aid that can provide measurable improvement in the wearer's listening and understanding, but that technology is NOT a substitute for undamaged hearing.
Practice, time, and patience are the keys to success. Unless your hearing instruments become part of your daily habits, your brain will not be stimulated long enough to learn to interpret the true sounds of your world. Part-time users will fail to receive the full benefit of hearing instruments. Frequent and consistent use is necessary for your brain to adjust and for you to achieve successful communication again.
What Hearing Instruments SHOULD, MAY, WILL & WILL NOT Do
|SHOULD||Allow you to hear many sounds that you may not be able to hear, or may not hear clearly, without amplification. Examples of such sounds include children's voices, soft voices, quiet outdoor sounds, etc.|
|SHOULD||Allow you to understand speech more clearly, and with less effort, in a variety of listening situations.|
|SHOULD||Prevent normally loud sounds from becoming uncomfortable. Loud sounds that are uncomfortable for normal hearing individuals may similarly be uncomfortable when using hearing instruments.|
|MAY||Allow you to understand speech more clearly in some types of noisy situations.|
|WILL||Require time to get used to, and to attain your maximum performance potential.|
|WILL||Make your own voice sound different and a little unusual at first.|
|WILL NOT||Restore your hearing capabilities to "normal".|
|WILL NOT||"Filter out" background noise completely. Some hearing instruments can reduce the amplification of some types of background noise, which can help produce a more comfortable listening experience.|
Thank you for making me feel normal again. The new hearing aid brings out the residual hearing and makes me feel whole again.
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