During your hearing aid adjustment period, you will probably notice new sounds that you may not recognize at first. In the beginning, it can even be difficult to tell what direction certain sounds are coming from. Sounds such as paper rustling, chewing, refrigerators running, water running in a faucet, footsteps, etc. will be louder than usual and possibly annoying. This improves over time.
The brain must go through the process of recognizing that these “new” sounds are normal. People with normal hearing may not even realize that the refrigerator is running or that their feet are making clomping sounds on the floor even though they hear these sounds. This is because the brain has identified the sounds as non-threating and normal background noises that need no attention.
Once you have adapted to the hearing aids, your brain will also be able to “tune out” these normal background sounds. Certain adjustments can be made to tone down some of these background noises if necessary, but this may also decrease the clarity for understanding speech. Ideally, you should let the brain adjust to these sounds instead.
Your own voice will also sound different. It may be possible to adjust the sound quality of your own voice to a degree through programming changes, but it will not sound “normal” to you until you have adjusted to the hearing aids.
It’s important to remember that the hearing aids are AIDS, and will not restore your hearing to normal. However, they will improve your ability to hear friends, family, colleagues, and many sounds in the world around you. People typically report an improvement in their quality of life as their communication with others improves, and their sensory connection to the world is enhanced.
With just a little bit of knowledge about what to expect, you can make the adjustment to hearing aids as smooth and stress-free as possible for yourself and those around you. Remember to see your hearing care professional if you have any questions or concerns during the process. They have a vested interest in your success and will help you achieve it!