A guide to getting the most out of your new hearing device.
Managing your out-of-the-box Hearing Aid expectations
People who wear their hearing devices regularly are more successful in retraining their brains to hear the sounds they have been missing. Sometimes it takes several months to fully adapt. And, just like wearing glasses for the first time, you will adjust to your hearing device after you go through the adjustment period.
Infrequent use of your hearing device is a major barrier to adaptation and will not allow you to attain the full benefits of the hearing device. Your brain needs substantial exposure to sounds and time to learn how to handle it again.
- Don’t expect perfect hearing immediately and right out-of-the-box. A hearing device is a valuable tool to help you hear better but will not restore the full function of normal hearing, especially during the first few weeks. Hearing devices are supposed to maximize the hearing you have left with an emphasis on speech enhancement. Even with the most advanced hearing technology available and customization, you are likely to have difficulty hearing in challenging situations such as noisy restaurants.
Keep in mind that even people with great hearing will have trouble hearing every word of a conversation in a challenging environment.
Do expect to wear your hearing device consistently for most waking hours. If you are a first-time user, you should start with 2-4 hours a day, then gradually increase to 8 hours per day minimum.
- Do expect your hearing device to be comfortable to wear and you should never experience pain or soreness.
If uncomfortable, remove the hearing device immediately and try a smaller ear tip. If the pain persists or other issues arise, contact our customer support for assistance.
It takes practice — and patience — to acclimate to your new hearing experience
Hearing devices have changed dramatically from a generation ago — from the outer appearance to the advanced internal technology — making them vastly more appealing and effective. The iHEAR devices are state-of-the-art digital devices - which means they process sound digitally and can be highly customized by a computer for your individual hearing challenge and personal preference. You should expect to hear many soft sounds again, and louder sounds should be pleasant and comfortable.
Hearing sounds you have been missing for years can be challenging
It is likely that it has been years since you heard all the sounds around you. From the faint sounds of keyboard clicks, bird chips, humming of the refrigerator and air conditioning unit, to the sound of your shoes hitting the floor as you walk. These sounds may be unfamiliar and even annoying at first.
With practice and patience, the annoyance will magically “disappear” as your brain learns to adapt and process them as normal. Think of the experience you get walking out from a dark room to the bright outdoor. Your ears, like your eyes, need time to adjust to the “brighter” stimulation. Also, think of what happens when you try to exercise after not being active for a while. Like your muscles, your ears need to adapt to the work they are being asked to do again.
Adapting to Your Own Voice
When you first begin wearing your hearing device, your own voice may sound different, and even funny. This is because hearing devices also amplify your own voice. Some have compared the sensation of hearing their own voice through their hearing device to hearing a recording of themselves. While a hearing device is optimized for speech, it will amplify all sounds in that range, and that includes your own voice. The hearing device may occlude or plug your ear canal which can also make your voice sound different. This is known as the occlusion effect — sounding like you’re in a barrel - and it takes few days to adjust. If your own voice continues to sound funny - you may try a different ear tip. An assortment of ear tips is included in your hearing device kit.
Our Customer Support is familiar with the “occlusion effect” and can assist you to mitigate it: 1-844-443-2744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dealing with whistling (feedback)
Whistling or feedback may be experienced momentarily as your hearing device settles in the ear, or when you cup your hand over your ear. However, the hearing device should not continue to whistle when properly secured in your ears. If whistling continues when the device is worn in your ear, you may want to try a different ear tip that fits more securely and provides a better seal in your ear canal. A loose ear tip in the ear is the major cause of whistling and moving up to a larger tip size, or switching to an unvented type ear tip, may make all the difference in controlling the whistling.
Always make sure the ear tip is securely attached to the hearing device before you insert the earpiece in the ear. Make sure your ears are clear of wax and other debris. Adjusting the setting of your hearing device is another option.
Adjusting the hearing device
You may need to adjust the settings of your device during the trial period to improve your hearing experience or deal with whistling.
Tips to speed up the adaptation process
- Wear your hearing devices only in quiet environments during the first few days.
- Wear them only a few hours a day during the first week.
- Read to yourself out loud for 10 minutes or so to help you get used to the sound of your own voice again
- Practice by listening to your TV or having a conversation with a family member.
- Take breaks by removing the hearing device when you feel tired or overwhelmed by the new sound experience.
- Set realistic expectations; hearing devices will not restore your hearing to normal — but they will make a big difference in your hearing ability.
- Most importantly- be patient and practice. Allow your brain to adapt and seek help from our customer support.
What to Expect by the end of the 60-day trial period
- Your ability to hear and understand others should be improved
- Hearing and communicating in quiet environments should noticeably be improved
- Hearing in noisy environments should also be improved, but expect some challenges (as we all find these settings challenging).
- You should adjust to your own voice, but it should not continue to be annoying.
- The intensity and quality of sounds should be sharper, brighter and clearer — but not irritating.
- Wearing hearing devices in both ears should improve your hearing ability, help you identify the location of each sound, and improve speech perception in noisy conditions. Our brains are designed to use both ears, not one. If you have a hearing loss on both ears, you really should be using a pair of hearing devices.