Learning to Adapt to Your New Hearing Aids Using Auditory Exercises
Getting new hearing aids can be an exciting yet challenging new phase of your life. It can be slightly unnerving to be able to suddenly hear way more than you could before you got your hearing aids. Even your own voice might sound strange and unusual to you, and you may find it overwhelming to adjust to the huge amount of sounds you are suddenly able to hear all around you. These rehabilitation exercises are designed to help you use the auditory input all around you to help you adapt to your new hearing aids.
Start off small, using you as a target. Learn to get used to hearing your own voice by reading aloud to yourself for at least ten minutes every day. This will be able to help you get used to your voice and help you associate the words you are reading with the sounds you are now able to hear. This technique will enable you to imprint the sound of your voice back onto your brain and help you get used to it at a quicker rate.
In case you are able to find a bigger audience, practice reading aloud to them as well. Be it your pet or your grandkids, take out time to read them stories or even the newspaper each day. Make sure you are consistent and practice reading every single day without fail. This way you will help hasten the adjustment period.
Once you are familiar with the sound of your own voice, move on to a bigger and more challenging target. Practice conversing or reading in a crowded environment so that you can use your hearing aids to focus on the sounds you want to hear despite the background noise. Start off at a location that has little background noise, such as a coffee shop or a quiet restaurant. Over time you can move on to louder restaurants that play background music.
After a period of about two months of practicing the above exercises, you will find that you feel more comfortable using your hearing aids. You will be able to hear more clearly and precisely and will be able to tune out background noise pretty easily. Now it is time to use your new-found hearing skills to practice active listening and start being a proactive participant in conversations.
Find a partner you wish to converse with and sit facing them directly with an approximate distance of around five feet between you both. Relax and focus only on the words your partner is saying to you, tuning out any unnecessary background noise. Become aware of the present moment and use your body language such as hand gestures and facial expressions to become really involved in the conversation. Let them know if you face any difficulty hearing them during the conversation and make note of what types of sounds you still have trouble hearing. Most importantly, become an active listener and participant where you are no longer practicing but genuinely participating in the conversation.
With the help of the above exercises, you will find that you are able to easily adapt to your new hearing aids. If you still have difficulty focusing on some sounds, make note of this and share these with your audiologist during your follow up session so that they can adjust your hearing aid settings to suit your unique hearing needs. It is important to remember to be patient with yourself and do not take on more tasks than you can handle. Not everybody adapts at the same pace so if you find that you are unable to cope with the adjustment swiftly, go at a pace that you are comfortable with. It is important to rejoice and make the most of all the sounds you can hear now because this is your exciting new hearing world that you can become a part of.