Process & Journey

The process and journey of hearing aids

So you and your audiologist have made the decision and your hearing aids have been ordered.

What to expect next?

You will be contacted for an appointment as soon as we have received your hearing aid. This appointment will be for approximately one hour long.

Firstly your audiologist will make sure you have a comfortable fit.

Secondly your hearing aid will be programmed according to the hearing test done during your first visit. Then… the hearing aid will be switched on! After the initial switch on, the audiologist will start talking to you and ask you to say some words too. The purpose of this is to determine whether the settings on the hearing aid are comfortable. In many cases, especially for individuals using hearing aids for the first time, hearing aids are initially programmed slightly softer than prescribed for comfort purposes. This is also partially the purpose of the follow up appointments – to steadily increase the volume of the hearing aids until the settings are exactly on the prescribed settings.

Thirdly your audiologist will take you through the process of putting in the battery, putting it in your ear, adjusting volume/programs (if applicable). A thorough list of aspects will be discussed, in order to address all questions you might have.

Before you leave your first follow up appointment will be scheduled within one to two weeks after the date of fitting in order for the audiologist to ensure you are comfortable with the hearing aid settings, handling of the hearing aids and making adjustments if required.

So your hearing aid has been fitted and you are on your way home …

The key to succeeding with hearing instruments is patience, practice and positive thinking. Suddenly you will hear a lot of new sounds. This can be somewhat overwhelming at first, but this is just a passing phase.

Know what is in store

Getting used to hearing instruments can take anywhere from just a few hours, a few days to a few months, depending on your hearing loss, the type of instrument you are wearing, and your ability to adapt. But you will be amazed at how much can be achieved in a short space of time if you are willing to try. It is important to understand that no matter how advanced your instruments are, they will never be able to completely restore your hearing.

What you can expect is to hear and understand much more in a wide variety of situations. You will perform better at work or when volunteering; socializing will become more enjoyable, you will feel more confident, and you might even get more energy to enjoy the good things in life. Your family and friends will certainly notice the difference!

Learning to hear again

Hearing instruments can make a very positive difference to your life. However, they are not like glasses, which restore your vision the moment you put them on. Initially, certain sounds might seem rather loud – even strange. This is because the brain forgets what it was like to be able to hear those sounds, and it has to learn how to process them again. You will hear voices and sounds that you may not have heard for a long time.

First, your brain has to identify these sounds. Then it has to relearn to focus on the ones that are important and filter out the rest. As you regain the ability to master this task, you will discover that the more you use your instruments, the less you will want to be without them! Train your brain Because the brain registers so many new sounds, the initial adjustment period can be quite tiring. It is a bit like training a muscle that has not been used for a long time. What a difference it makes when you regain that lost strength!

After wearing your instruments for a couple of weeks, you may need an appointment with your Hearing Care Professional for adjustments. Once these have been made you will be able to practise much more and get the very best out of them on a daily basis.

At first, everything may seem too loud. This is normal and has nothing to do with the volume being set too high. The best approach is to wear your instruments for as long as possible during the first few days in the quiet of your home, and avoid noisy situations until your brain has had time to adjust. Keep things simple at first If you have program buttons and volume controls, wait until you are more experienced before experimenting with them. Rely on the fully automatic hearing instrument to keep things comfortable.

A little later when you feel ready to try out the various listening programs, you will get even more out of wearing your instruments.

Good tips for a gentle start

Start by wearing your hearing aids for most of the day:

  • Listen to the radio or television
  • Use them in one to one or quiet listening situations
  • Use them in noisier environments such as restaurants, shopping malls or a busy road.  


At first you might not be able to hear everything that people are saying but with time, as we teach the brain to listen again, this gets easier

Things that might surprise you

Knowing what to expect is the first step to being happy with your instruments. The more severe your hearing loss is, the more likely you are to be overwhelmed by all the new sounds, and their apparent volume. Be prepared for new experiences Things might sound strange at first, but with time you will get used to your new way of hearing.

Here are some examples of what to expect

  • Flushing your toilet might sound like Niagara Falls
  • The sound of the doorbell, an alarm clock or your phone ringing might startle you the first time you hear them
  • Hearing yourself chew will sound strange at first
  • Your air-con or refrigerator will hum more loudly
  • The crinkle of paper or pages turned will sound sharper
  • Your car’s engine as well as using the indicators will sound different and clearer
  • Traffic noise will sound louder
  • Your own voice might sound different
  • The sound of your own footsteps
  • Birds singing
  • Children laughing
  • Rustling of leaves
  • Water flowing from the tap
  • Rain against your window

Keep a diary

Adapting to hearing instruments may involve a certain amount of adjustments. This usually happens over a couple of sessions, after you have tried the instruments out in different environments. We recommend keeping a diary on:

Loudness

Listen to sounds in noisy and quiet conditions, soft sounds, like leaves rustling, loud/sudden loud sounds, like a door slamming, children crying or live music. Make notes on loudness.

Changes in your sound environment

Observe typical changes in your sound environment, such as entering a shop from a noisy street or a person addressing you in a crowd. Make notes on how well your instruments adjust to your environment.

Sound quality

Listen to high-pitched sounds (e.g. violins, birdsong, children’s voices) and low pitched sounds (e.g. male voices, bass guitar). Describe the quality of each sound so that adjustments can be made.

This enables you to note down your experiences after you have had time to acclimatize.

Follow up

One of the most important steps in your hearing aid journey is to attend your follow-up visit a few weeks after your initial fit.

During these sessions you should:

  • Share your experiences – the more information you provide, the more your audiologist can ensure that your hearing aids are working best for you!
  • Fine tuning of hearing aids – with the feedback you provide, the audiologist is enabled to adjust and program your setting according to your needs and feedback. This is inevitable in the process of improving your listening experience!

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