Wearing hearing aids requires both a physical and mental adjustment. Hearing loss in one or both ears can be difficult to accept, so patients may see hearing aids as a threat to their autonomy.

However, hearing aids are incredible tools that patients should embrace to live a fuller life. Support from family and friends is critical to becoming comfortable with them and we’ll give you some tips to help your loved one ease into them. 

While hearing aids shouldn’t be painful, they may create some physical discomfort at first. Your doctor should be able to adjust them, but even so, it’s certainly a new experience. In addition to how the hearing aid sits on their ear, it might also cause a slight headache. 

Louder sounds will be uncomfortable at first, just as someone unaccustomed to loud noises might be uncomfortable at a rock concert. However, follow-up conversations with a doctor and using this advice will help decrease the discomfort and make the transition smooth and anxiety-free. 

Be realistic about expectations.

The average time it takes for a person to adjust to hearing aids can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months . They should also not expect the tuning of sounds to be the same. Not only will people’s voices sound different but background noises like cars and the radio will also sound different.

Practice using them.

When you first start using hearing aids, you will likely become frustrated with the variety of new sounds. Rather than forcing yourself to both talk and interpret the new sounds, practice using them by listening to audiobooks or movies. Once you feel comfortable listening with them, you can practice reading books aloud and become acclimated with your own voice. Only after that should you try engaging in conversation with family members. 

At first, only wear them at home.

When you’re first starting out, don’t walk down a busy sidewalk or attend a concert. Instead, just use them at home where you don’t have to communicate with people or become frustrated with the variety of new sounds. Try them during one-on-one conversations with friends and family that understand and are supportive of the journey. 

Take breaks.

Don’t expect to wear them from 7 am to 7 pm on the very first day. Try them out for a few hours at home and increase usage gradually. You may want to track your time on a calendar and set a goal to listen for 3 hours per day the first week, 5 hours per day the second week, and so on. Similar to working out at the gym, you have to build yourself up to wearing them all day. 

Report pain.

You may feel some tenderness on your skin and that will naturally subside over time. However, if it persists for more than a day or two, your doctor should be able to adjust it for you to make it more comfortable. Keep an open line of communication with your doctor and if you are experiencing any internal pain such as headaches, you should let your doctor know that as well.

Get educated.

Talk with your audiologist about orientation classes for new wearers of hearing aids. You may want to confide in friends that have also experienced the same journey. Ask them how long it took them to become acclimated and what they did to help ease the transition. If nothing else, read the experiences of other people so you know you’re not alone. This is a process and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to reach out for inspiration.