One of the hardest things to overcome when fitting people with hearing aids is their unrealistic expectations of what a hearing aid can do. It is so important for the hearing aid professional to counsel the patient as to what they can realistically expect from their hearing aids, given their hearing loss and their listening environment.
When wearing hearing aids:
- In quiet environments, your hearing should improve.
- Your hearing in moderate background noise should improve.
- Your hearing with background noise is NOT going to be as good as your hearing in a quiet environment.
- Your hearing with loud background noise should not be worse than without the hearing aids.
- Soft speech should be audible, average speech should be comfortable, and loud speech should not be uncomfortable.
- Your ear molds should not hurt.
- Your voice will sound different to you but it should not be objectionable.
- There should be no feedback when the hearing aids are properly seated in your ears.
- Your hearing aids should allow you to listen with less effort.
- Your hearing aids require time to get used to. Performance will improve as you gradually become accustomed to amplifications.
- Your hearing aids WILL NOT restore your hearing capabilities to “normal’’ or pre-existing levels.
- Hearing aids DO NOT eliminate background noise.
- You may be aware of soft sounds that were previously not audible. Examples include: footsteps, refrigerator, noise, etc.
- If you only wear one hearing aid you will never, never, never hear well in situations where there is background noise.
Remember, when you are wearing hearing aids for the first time you are using a hearing instrument to hear with an impaired hearing system (your ears) in a very noisy world. It may have taken you a long time to lose your hearing—it will take you time, practice, and patience to get used to hearing again. If you are having a difficult time adjusting to your hearing aids make sure you go back to your hearing professional for help. If your expectations are realistic and you are still not satisfied with your hearing aid’s performance, seek out another professional hearing aid specialist.
By Susan L. Fenrich, BC-HIS, Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist, Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences