How to Adjust to a New Hearing Aid

Troubleshooting Tips for a New Hearing Aid

elderly man using cell phone with hearing aid
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It takes time to adjust to a hearing aid, especially if you've never used one before. Everyone adjusts at their own pace, but there tends to be a major learning curve amongst those with profound hearing loss who've never had a hearing aid. Using a new device can be a frustrating experience, but the adjustment can be made easier by taking a few helpful tips into consideration.

How to Adjust to a New Hearing Aid

Learn everything about it. Write down questions and concerns before your appointment, and write down your audiologist's answers. Once you decide on a hearing aid, take the time to learn everything you can about it. Practice replacing the batteries, cleaning the hearing aid and distinguishing the left hearing aid from the right, if applicable.

Test it out. Cell phones can interfere with hearing aids. It's a good idea to take your cell phone with you to test it on a new hearing aid. Using a hearing aid will also change how your own voice sounds to you, too. Some hearing aid users' voices sound loud and booming, while others sound tinny. Most users get used to the change with time and no longer notice it. If not, your audiologist may be able to make an adjustment.

Learn to adjust. Learn how to adjust your hearing aid for different situations, like a loud restaurant, a church, an auditorium, etc. While shopping for a new hearing aid you may want to ask if you can walk outside where there is traffic and have a conversation with someone before leaving with your new hearing aid.

Don’t overdo it. Some people find hearing aids uncomfortable at first. Ask how long you should wear your hearing aid each day while you are adjusting. Depending on the type of hearing aid you have, it may take a few days or more to become used to wearing a hearing aid.

Keep it clean. If you hear a whistling noise or feedback, it could mean that your hearing aid does not fit properly or is clogged with earwax or fluid. Even the smallest amount of wax can cause whistling. You can visit your audiologist periodically to have the wax removed or use a wax removal kit. Either way, you should clean your hearing aid ear tubes, tips a wax guards often and well. If there is still feedback even after cleaning, take it back to your audiologist for an adjustment.

Practice listening. Even though hearing aids improve your hearing, they do not completely bring it back to normal. By combining the use of a hearing aid with improvements in your communication skills, you can better understand people when they are talking with you. Start by always facing someone who is talking to you and asking them to rephrase, not just repeat what they say. Learn more hearing tips and share them with those you speak with regularly.

Start slowly. If you get a new hearing aid and immediately enter a complex sound environment like a restaurant, you're probably going to feel confused and frustrated. Spend some time getting used to how the hearing aid changes the sounds you hear while at home before using it in a public setting. Start by listening to the TV or radio because the sounds are simpler.

Remove it. In some settings hearings aids just don't work well. If background noise is too loud, consider removing your hearing aid. This may help more than keeping the hearing aid in your ear.


National Institutes of Health. Hearing Aid Basics. NIH Pub. No. 99-4340

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